UN unveils 20-page negotiating text for Paris

The United Nations (UN) has today (5 October) released a streamlined version of the negotiating text that will be used at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference in December.

Legally binding elements of the new document include long-term global goals for halting and reducing global emissions, to a near-zero phase

Legally binding elements of the new document include long-term global goals for halting and reducing global emissions, to a near-zero phase

The new document, drawn up by two co-chairs for the talks - Algerian diplomat Ahmed Djoghlaf and US counterpart Dan Reifsnyder - has been cut down from 89 to 20 pages, in a bid to provide a more succinct starting point for final round of pre-Summit talks in Bonn, Germany, later this month.

(Scroll down for full document)

The text clarifies which elements of the Paris climate talks would be legally binding agreements and which elements will be given a more flexible approach with decisions that can evolve over time.

Legally-binding elements include long-term global goals for halting and reducing global GHG emissions to a near-zero phase, which will be implemented by countries submitting carbon reduction plans every five years intensifying their efforts in the process.

Elements ignored

With a variety of less economically developed countries submitting their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of the Paris talks, one of the key areas for these countries - loss and damage - is mentioned, albeit fleetingly in the document.

Crucially, the draft has removed any mention of the shipping and aviation sectors, despite ample warnings that emissions in these sectors could skyrocket by up to 250% by 2050 without tangible targets from governments.

The draft also mentions climate finance, offering up the potential for any country to increase their pledge to provide $100bn a year after 2020. However, the emerging ideology of a carbon market has been largely ignored.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament has endorsed plans to reform the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), in an attempt to reduce the surplus of carbon credits available to ensure the correct price of carbon.

Square brackets

As well as culling some of the elements, the draft contains 231 square brackets, indicating that negotiators are yet to make a final decision on those specific elements.

Negotiators had previously been criticised over their attempts to shorten the length of the original 89-page document, with the WWF branding the June talks in Bronn as ‘sluggish’. It now seems that a more precise and clear document will be available, if the square brackets are ironed out.

Matt Mace


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