This Article is From Dec 02, 2015

Negotiators Kick Start Marathon Talks for Climate Deal

Negotiators Kick Start Marathon Talks for Climate Deal

Twenty countries, including India, the US and China, have already decided to launch an initiative to double their clean energy research and development budget over the next five years as part of global efforts to tackle climate change.

Le Bourget, France: A day after world leaders vowed to unitedly fight climate change, negotiators from 195 countries began marathon talks to strike a historic agreement with India on Tuesday asking developed nations to commit to more progressive emission cuts for a "just and sustainable" deal.

Negotiators on Tuesday scrambled to give shape to a 54-page text into a blueprint that can be approved by December 11.

Ajay Mathur, one of the top Indian negotiators at the Conference of Parties (CoP21), said India remains committed to working with all parties for a "just and sustainable" deal.

He asserted that India wanted developed nations to commit to more progressive targets on emission reductions.

"Just in as much as it takes into account the interest of people who will be affected and also those who still do not have adequate access to affordable energy. We would like the agreement to move us on to a path that takes us to a temperature increase of less than 2 degrees," Mathur said.

"We want countries to commit, act and deliver while promising even more progressive targets as time goes by. We would not like this agreement in which people step out as they did in the Kyoto protocol when they saw that they could not meet the targets."

The ongoing conference will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement, with the aim of keeping the rise in global temperatures to below 2A C over pre-industrial levels.

Scientists estimate that if the world warms by more than 2A C degree on average above the pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, the effects of climate change will become catastrophic and irreversible.

A 2A degree limit has long been the goal of UN climate summits, and current pledges from all countries are estimated to lead to warming of 2.7 A degree to 3A degree, although the proposed deal has a provision for increased emissions cuts in future.

Countries like China and India have laid out plans for cuts to their emissions. These will form the centrepiece of any deal at the summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cautioned against any unilateral steps that will lead to an economic barrier in the battle against climate change. He hoped the developed countries would mobilise USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation.

"The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities must remain the bedrock of our collective enterprise," PM Modi said.

Also on Tuesday, the BASIC group of countries, including India, called on the developed world to define a clear roadmap for providing USD 100 billion by 2020 to developing nations to tackle climate change.

Noting that there is a gap in support provided to developing nations, the BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - said that the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol is an important step and instrument to implement the convention ahead of the agreement.

The Paris 2020 negotiations should have all aspects of the Kyoto Protocol and adhere to differentiation of the developed and the developing countries, they said.

The summit is being held under the shadow of the deadly Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people two weeks ago.

About 2,800 police and soldiers have been deployed around the conference site and over 6,000 have been deployed in the city.

French police today banned demonstrations on Paris' prestigious Champs Elysees avenue and near the venue for the UN climate conference.

The 12-day conference also began in the backdrop of a UN report that said 2015 threatens to become the hottest year ever recorded in history.

The most difficult issues at the summit include working out how to share the burden of taking action between rich and poor nations, how to finance the cost of adapting to global warming and the legal format of any final text.

More than 180 countries have submitted their plans to reduce the harmful emissions that cause climate change. The UN climate process concerns the use of fossil fuels, the backbone of the world's energy supply - and that puts the interests of developing nations at stake.

New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment said India has articulated the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in terms of carbon space for the first time setting the tone for negotiations.

The summit began yesterday with a never-before gathering of world leaders in Paris, hoping to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing collapse of the Copenhagen conference in 2009.

World leaders including US President Barack Obama and China's Xi Jinping have vowed to limit greenhouse gasses.

Obama today met with the heads of small-island states, who are among the most threatened from climate change.

"Some of their nations could disappear entirely and as weather patterns change," said Obama. "We might deal with tens of millions of climate refugees in the Asia-Pacific region."

Obama said that if global warming continues, "then before long we are going to have to devote more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet."

French President Francois Hollande said "never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life. The hope of all of humanity rests on all of your shoulders."

In an effort to bridge the divide between rich and poor countries, which have dogged the annual climate negotiations, Hollande promised two billion euros in the next four years to help Africa move towards clean energy sources.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the negotiators: "You have now started the fundamental work."

"I implore you to advance on the substance in a way that allows us to respect the strong mandate given by the diverse heads of state and government yesterday."

Twenty countries, including India, the US and China, have already decided to launch an initiative to double their clean energy research and development budget over the next five years as part of global efforts to tackle climate change.

PM Modi, in a sharp message to developed nations, yesterday underlined that the "lifestyles of a few" must not crowd out
opportunities for developing countries.

CSE's director general Sunita Narain said that PM Modi's demand for a fair share of carbon space for developing countries has suggested the way to operationalise equity.