For the past 10 days, world leaders have been meeting outside Paris to discuss the fate of the environment as we know it. The participating nations came to the table with preconceived strategies for regulating carbon emissions within their own borders, and negotiations are ongoing to draft an international agreement. A rough draft (PDF), issued on Wednesday, met with harsh criticism from climate scientists and conservationists who feel the parameters aren’t aggressive enough to save the Earth from its untimely demise. Leaders are aiming to have a final draft by Friday – that’s tomorrow – but it may take a little longer.
Delegates from 195 countries are working together to reach an agreement that will outline emissions caps, fossil fuel usage, clean energy investments, and conservation goals around the globe. Reportedly, negotiators worked through the night last night in an effort to make the original Friday deadline for a final draft, but with so many points of contention still on the table, it doesn’t seem likely that will happen. One big reason for the delay is that some parties think the deal is already too stringent, while others are pushing for even tighter restrictions – in addition to components for tracking accountability and for making commitments to future increases in carbon-emitting activities. The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told the Guardian that a new draft will be ready today.
An unnamed spokesperson for the UK government told BusinessGreen that the draft needs to be more ambitious. “We need to secure a deal that keeps ambition rising in the future, as the costs of action are driven down by greater innovation, investment and competition. We are working closely with all our partners in the negotiations, especially the poorest and most vulnerable countries, to secure a deal that is ambitious, fair and transparent.”
Finding a way to stick to the original deadline, or close to it, is a big challenge. So far, the drafts have been negotiated, noted, deleted, added, and changed by government officials. Even if this climate deal does not become a legally binding international treaty, it’s still considered a legal document and will thus have to pass a legal review before the “final” draft can be called “finished.” The French are trying to speed up this process, by passing along the sections of the document that are “clean” for legal review, so the lawyers can get a headstart while they wait for the more contentious parts of the agreement to be hammered out.
Considering it has taken decades to reach this crucial point in international dealings – an arena where so many world leaders can come together and even attempt to agree on how to manage climate change – two weeks doesn’t seem like much time. So, if it takes the negotiators a few extra days to get this first step right, so be it.
Via The Guardian