Pacific Media Watch

7 December 2015

COP21: Draft Paris Outcome on table for climate deal includes Pacific options

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Draft Paris Agreement on the table ... relief for the moment for Pacific. Image: Politico

Makereta Komai, editor of PACNEWS
PARIS (Pacnews/SPREP/Pacific Media Watch): After a week of negotiations, negotiators from 195 countries have produced a Draft Paris Outcome that is likely to become the new global climate agreement on 11 December.

To the relief of Pacific, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and G77 and China, the proposal by the United States and other developed countries to remove loss and damage from the Paris Agreement is now gone, replaced with a proposal (Option 1) to include it  as a stand-alone Article 5.

The second option wants to push Loss & Damage back to Article 4, alongside the Adaptation provision.

Ministers from 195 countries, who take over the reins from officials, will decide on the two options when they start negotiations today.

United States chief climate change negotiator, Todd Stern said his government ‘broadly’ supports the push for Loss & Damage from island nations, however it will not accept the notion of liability and compensation.

“This is a red-line that we cannot cross. It’s not a US centric position but the position of all developed countries, Stern has been reiterating at all media briefings during the week.

Way forward
The US and the French Presidency will convene bilateral meetings into next week to try and reach some consensus on a way forward, now that the draft text is ready for the ministers to craft a new global climate deal.

“We are however working co-operatively with negotiators from the islands and the G77 and China to develop solutions that is agreeable to all parties," said Stern

Immediately after the Draft Outcome was endorsed at 3pm yesterday, UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres tweeted, “One more step in writing of history, #ADP adopts the Draft Paris Outcome and forwards it #COP21 for finalising.”

On the long term goal, the two options of ‘below 1.5 degrees’ and ‘below 2 degrees’ remain bracketed in Article 2 (definition) and Article 4 (adaptation).

“While many are relieved by the fact that a ‘bridging proposal’ was tabled on Thursday the fact that some developed countries have openly challenged this shows that they are not ready to discuss this in the ‘formal Paris text’,” says François Martel, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

The United States made proposals, which are not acceptable in their current status while the European Union is not putting up any formal text for discussion.

Another blow is that the text on review of temperature target for a 1.5 degrees limit as a safer way to protect all communities, ended up getting blocked from being sent to ministers, primarily by the Arab Group with Saudi Arabia leading.

'Climate injustice'
“This is climate injustice not only to Pacific-SIDS but also to Africa and other nationals facing losses and damages from both “extreme events” and “slow onset events,” added Martel.

Marshall Islands Foreign Affairs minister, Tony de Brum said the second week would determine the future survival of small and vulnerable nations.

“For me, this is the most important journey of my life. Put simply, I refuse to go home to my people without a Paris Agreement that allows me to look them in the eye and say that everything is going to be okay.”

“I know the ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) has been a very difficult process, but what you haven’t seen is the political goodwill that is there in the background and is now at the centre of this process now that the ministers are here.

“With the French at the helm, I know we are in good hands," said de Brum.

The ADP co-chair, Ahmed Djoghlaf said France will once again claim history if it is able to steer negotiations to a new global climate deal at the end of the week.

“Just as France liberated the world in 1789 [referring to the French Revolution against aristocracy], we hope we will be able to celebrate the new agreement with France’s leadership on 11 December," said Djoghlaf in his closing remark of the ADP plenary.

'Planetary challenge'
His comment was echoed by the President of France, Francois Hollande, who issued a ‘planetary challenge’ to ministers to hammer out an outcome that will save the globe.

“I call on all of you to overcome your regional, country interests and place the interests of the global community ahead of every other interest and come up with an agreement that is about our collective future, said Hollande. 



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