• France's news in English

Ministers in Paris to seek climate convergence

AFP · 6 Nov 2015, 09:12

Published: 06 Nov 2015 09:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The three-day huddle seeks to target areas of possible compromise ahead of a year-end summit in the French capital tasked with inking the first ever universal agreement to rein in climate-altering greenhouse gases.
It will be a chance for ministers to examine a rough draft of the deal that remains little more than a laundry list of opposing options, despite months of haggling.
"It... can help build understanding and trust between ministers, which will be essential in the end game at Paris," said analyst Jennifer Morgan of the Washington-based World Resources Institute think-tank.
The November 30-December 11 Conference of Parties (COP) -- the 21st such gathering -- will be opened by more than 80 heads of state and government including US President Barack Obama, China's Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi of India.
The idea is for leaders to provide political impetus for the final round of talks by rank-and-file negotiators and their ministers.
The "pre-COP" meeting from Sunday to Tuesday brings together all the negotiating blocs, and includes top envoys from all major carbon polluting
nations -- China, the United States, the European Union, India, Brazil and others.
It is the third such ministerial meeting in Paris this year, and will tackle make-or-break issues such as burden-sharing for slashing emissions and climate finance.
"The ministers are expected to provide political guidance to help the Paris climate conference reach a successful outcome," said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid, which defends poor countries' interests at the talks.
"The French COP 21 presidency needs the ministers... to set the negotiations on course to success."
Last-minute deals
According to the rules, ministers cannot alter the 55-page blueprint for the Paris deal, crafted by bureaucrats over years of technical talks.
But they can anticipate the last-minute deals that will be needed to unlock an agreement.
The overarching goal is a global pact on curbing emissions to limit average Earth warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
The last negotiating round in Bonn in October saw squabbles along well-rehearsed fault lines of developed vs developing nations.
Developing countries insist rich ones should lead the way in slashing emissions because historically they have emitted more pollution.
Developing nations also want assurances of financing to help decarbonize their economies and shore up defences against the impacts of superstorms, drought, flood and sea-level rise.
But industrialized countries point the finger at emerging giants such as China and India spewing carbon dioxide as they burn coal to power expanding populations and economies.
These crux issues will ultimately be settled at the political level.
Story continues below…
"The ministers have only the second week of the COP to reach agreement on a number of difficult issues, so the pre-COP gives them a head start on that," said Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace.
"Paris will be a legal climate agreement, and only political leaders can deliver that."
Much work lies ahead outside the 195-nation UN climate forum, including a G20 summit in Turkey this month where the thorny issue of climate finance will be discussed.
The Paris pact will be supported by a roster of national carbon-curbing pledges, but over 150 commitments submitted to date place Earth on track for warming of about 3C, analysts say.
Last month, scientists said the first nine months of 2015 had been the hottest on record worldwide.
By Mariette Le Roux
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available