Nations agree to draft text for climate agreement

Negotiators from close to 200 nations have agreed on a draft text to fight climate change. The text will serve as the basis for a binding treaty set to be adopted at the Paris climate talks at the end of this year.

Heralding the draft text as “a key milestone on the route to a new, universal agreement on climate change”, the text covers everything from climate mitigation to adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building.

As Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) said on Friday, the negotiating text “alerts capitals to the fact that a legal instrument could be adopted in Paris. It does not, however, set this possibility in stone – it merely opens the door for this possibility.”

The next step is for negotiators to narrow down the different options to slow down climate change and reach consensus when they meet next in Bonn, Germany in June. Ministerial-level meetings will also be held throughout the year on climate change alongside key political gatherings including the upcoming G7 and G20 meetings.

Figueres commended the constructive spirit and speed of negotiations that characterised the talks in Geneva last week. Her views were shared by a number of environmental activists, who were pleased that the 86-page negotiating text included many of their recommendations, including a Bolivian demand for an International Climate Justice Tribunal for countries that fail to uphold their pledges for action, reported Reuters.

“Everything in Geneva has set us up for success at Paris,” Julie-Anne Richards of the Climate Justice Programme told Reuters, saying that Geneva contrasted with previous U.N. sessions that can “feel like pulling teeth … painful and hard to get things done.”

But not everyone is as pleased with the negotiating text. As Reuters reports, Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission delegated said that the negotiators should have begun the harder task of streamlining the text, calling the outcome a lost opportunity for progress. Figueres conceded as much when she said that the longer text would make the Bonn talks “a little bit more difficult”.

 

Photo credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

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