The international climate deal in Paris has now reached the “rough draft” stage. As global leaders from 195 countries attempt to nail down the details and draft a final agreement by this Friday, many concerns remain surrounding the contents of the deal. National Geographic’s Craig Welch outlined four such issues, arguing that the current state of the climate deal doesn’t address key questions that could make or break the efficacy of the agreement.
In this piece, Welch points out four specific issues that the rough draft of the international climate deal simply doesn’t address. Over the weekend, negotiators from around the world signed off on an initial draft that pretty much represents commitments as outlined in each participating nation’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – the statements submitted prior to the beginning of the climate conference. Welch’s big criticisms point to questions that the negotiators haven’t answered: who will pay, how will nations be held accountable, what is the tolerance for global temperature increase, and when will world leaders meet again?
As far as financing a plan to fight climate change, wealthier nations have pledged to step up with the creation of a $100 billion fund by 2020. This aid would come under the guide of compensation for “loss and damage” in poor countries caused by climate change ostensibly created by the larger industrialized nations. Accountability, both for contributing to this fund and adhering to the restrictions outlined in the new deal, is also a big question. France and China are pushing for the deal to be a “legally binding” document, but other countries, like the United States, have turned away from the notion of a legal treaty because it would require approval from the Republican-led Congress (in other words, it would likely be rejected). Disagreements remain surrounding what global temperature increase is tolerable – 1.5 degrees or 2 or 4 – and some nations have yet to compromise on the frequency by which future climate commitments should be revisited. France and China are pushing for a review every 5 years, while oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia would rather not revisit the restrictions for another 10 or 15 years.
Many of these concerns were echoed in the feature article we published at the beginning of the climate talks, on November 30. Now, with a rough draft issued and a final draft expected by this Friday, when the conference concludes, the real shape and feel of the climate deal is becoming evident.