COP21: Latest draft drawn up in Paris, 3 key issues remain

A final draft text for a climate change agreement in Paris has been released, with COP21 president Laurent Fabius claiming world leaders "must now be prepared to work overnight and tomorrow" to hammer out the real deal.

The 29-page document has been streamlined from the previous 43-page version drawn up over the weekend, with a three-quarter reduction in bracketed text which indicates areas of disagreement.

Announcing the final draft, Fabius said that the issue of mitigation and adaption was almost resolved and that negotiators were “closer to concluding on transparency”. He said they had also made initial progress on ‘transfer of technologies’ and forests.

Fabius said that negotiators were closer to concluding on the issue of ‘loss and damage’, which essentially considers the compensation for nations dealing with climate impacts. 


However, Fabius pointed out that three “cross-cutting issues” remain – differentiation, financing and the overall level of ambition of the agreement – which will likely form the main focus points for the final sessions.

On the issue of differentiation, richer countries argue that a greater number of developing nations should take on responsibilities to cut emissions and provide climate finance. But poorer countries claim that their priority is still improving living standards and that their share of cumulative emissions has been negligible to date.

On the crucial issue of temperature increase targets, the new text appears to introduce a more ambitious than in previous versions of the text. Saturday’s version had two options – both in square brackets – of limiting global warming to “below 1.5C” or “well below 2C”. The new version removes those square brackets and introduces a new option to limit warming simply to “below 2C”.

Work to be done

Commenting on the new draft text, Germana Canzi, senior international analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The French Presidency has done a very good job in moving negotiations forwards and ensuring there is positive momentum towards a deal after the ambition generated by global leaders last week. 

“Ministers have clearly made huge progress in the last few days, but there are still issues to be resolved, including on the long-term goal that is ultimately needed to solve climate change.

“Many countries have come into negotiations recognising that a clean energy transition and a decoupling of emissions from economic growth are underway already, but Paris could be a key accelerator towards the end of the fossil fuel age.”


Moments before Fabius’ speech, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US would be doubling its finance for poor countries dealing with climate change to $861m.

The money is specifically to aid adaptation efforts and is separate to the $3bn the US has alreasy pledged to the Green Climate Fund, which will focus on ‘mitigation’ – i.e helping countries move to green energy and cut emissions.

Negotiators paving the way for a global climate change agreement in Paris had produced a draft accord in record time over the weekend, leaving this full week of minister-led talks to clinch an ambitious deal.

Final draft text on COP21

Brad Allen

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