Will Paris fall over correct wording?

3. Dezember 2015 HW

With Heads of State having left Paris, negotiators are buckling down to the final stage of their work on the text of the Paris agreement. Progress is mixed, and it’s clear that several key issues will be left to ministers to resolve next week. Finance issues continue to be the most difficult, with little movement forward as negotiators continue to hold their chips close to their chest.

Delegates continue to meet in spin-off groups and informal meetings. Major issues like finance remain unsolved, which has slowed progress on other issues like the long-term goal and a plan to review national commitments periodically.

It becomes more and more obvious that the G77 + China are not yet willing to give up the division of the world in ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, where even countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are supposed to receive support whereas mainly the US and the EU should give money. ‘Differentiation’ and ‘historic responsibilities’ are the wordings that have the ability to let this decisive climate summit crash as no one in Europe or in the United States is willing to transfer money to countries like China or Saudia Arabia.

The EU wants to put more money on the table only for the ‘most vulnerable countries’, which would leave especially emerging countries in Asia and South America completely empty handed. But what are the criteria and indicators that can tell who is ‘most vulnerable’ to climate change? No one can tell. And especially China indicated clearly that it is not willing to accept that new language in the UN convention.

There was some progress on loss and damage on a high level following a bilateral between the US and the Alliance of Small Island States. Negotiators have been working on bridging proposals, but have been seemingly reticent to get them on the table. Many developed countries, including the EU, are being looked to by observers for provide more leadership in bringing negotiators together and out of their established public preferences.

Photo: UN