After two weeks of negotiations the world’s rich and poor countries represented at the climate change conference in Paris failed to meet today’s deadline for reaching common ground on a new deal to curb global warming.
Delegates worked overnight to finalise the latest draft agreement. However, they emerged from talks around 6 a.m. still in disagreement on a number of key issues, and extended the deadline to Saturday.
Delegates are still deliberating on how to lower greenhouse gas emissions, how to adapt to rising sea levels and how to finance developing countries’ efforts to transition to greener economies.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have had their demand for global temperature rises to be capped at 1.5 degrees Celsius included in the latest draft text, even though the two degree limit, which is preferred by the developed nations, is still included.
The document noted that temperatures should be kept “well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius”. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has already indicated it is prepared to accept that compromise.
On Thursday, Belize’s Minister for Sustainable Development and the Environment Omar Figueroa reiterated the Caribbean’s calls for urgent action to be taken on global warming, stressing the vulnerability of SIDS to changing weather patterns.
“What happens to us will happen to you. Save us and you save yourselves. The difference is that we are small, our oceans outsize us and threaten the drivers of our economy as they rise and as they warm.
“In Belize, a minimum of six inches sea level rise would inundate all our outlying islands and coastal areas, dealing an unrecoverable blow to our tourism and agriculture industries. The difference is that for us, climate change is existential. The costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action now, especially in the case of SIDS, and yet we are being challenged for making this case by those bigger both in terms of size and economy,” Figueroa said.
COP21 president, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, is scheduled to put forward a new draft text tomorrow morning.
He told local media that that a deal was “within reach”, even though they were still several matters to be ironed out.
While countries continued their deliberations, a group of protesters gathered outside the conference centre under heavy police presence on Friday morning, voicing their dissatisfaction with the state of negotiations.