Climate change factbox: All you wanted to know in 7 points

By: | Published: December 10, 2015 8:48 AM

Hosts France proposed a slimmer draft text at global climate change talks on Wednesday that leaves major issues unresolved, including finance for developing nations.

Hosts France proposed a slimmer draft text at global climate change talks on Wednesday that leaves major issues unresolved, including finance for developing nations.

The new text is 29 pages, against 43 on Saturday.

Almost 200 nations are meeting in Paris, seeking a turning point away from an increasing reliance on fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. The meeting is due to finish on Friday, Dec. 11, but could run longer.

Following are details of the new draft:

FINANCE

Developed nations promised in 2009 to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020 from both public and private sources to help developing nations limit their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to more floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.

The new text retains a split between poor and rich.

One option favoured by developing nations says “financial resources shall be scaled up from a floor of $100 billion per year” beyond 2020. Another option, which is favoured by rich nations, is vaguer and says countries should “enhance the scale and effectiveness of climate finance”.

LONG-TERM GOAL

The text includes options of holding temperature rises below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, “well below 2C” or “below 1.5” (2.7F), the goal supported by more than 100 developing nations. Global average surface temperatures have already risen by about 1.0C (1.8F).

Options include cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero after the middle of the 21st century, or by the end. Another option is that countries would set no clear deadline.

China and India, heavily dependent on coal, are among those reluctant to set clear dates for giving up fossil fuels they see as vital to lift millions from poverty.

LOSS AND DAMAGE

Developing nations want a long-term mechanism to help them cope with loss and damage from disasters such as typhoons or the impacts of a creeping rise of sea level rise.

All governments set up a loss and damage mechanism in 2013, but it has so far done little. The draft agreement would extend the mechanism, a sign of progress for the demands of developing nations.

RAISING AMBITION

The United Nations says promises by 186 nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, already made, are too weak to limit rising temperatures to an agreed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

That means there will have to be a system to ratchet up action, but it is poorly defined.

The draft suggest that countries should take stock of efforts in 2018 or 2019, and then follow up with a more formal stocktake in 2023 or 2024 to guide countries in updating their pledges, and then every five years thereafter.

CARBON MARKETS

The draft contains no explicit mention of carbon markets, nor of the possibility of carbon penalties for aviation and shipping. It does, however, include a reference to “use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes”, which carbon experts say can be read as markets.

DIFFERENTIATION

Developing nations say that rich nations, as defined in a 1992 Convention, should continue to take the lead in cutting emissions and providing finance. Developed nations argue that many of these countries, such as Singapore and South Korea, have since become wealthy and should do more.

LEGAL FORCE

All nations agreed in 2011 that the Paris deal will have some form of “legal force”. The draft leaves the issue unresolved, saying in line with previous texts that it will be either a “protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”.

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