First small sign of climate accord on five-year review of carbon cuts

Image: A young boy looks at a giant balloon with signatures at the Place de la Republique in Paris, France, December 2, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues in Le Bourget north of the French captal. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


PARIS (Reuters) – Climate negotiators in Paris are drawing close to resolving one of the sticking points for a breakthrough emissions pact by favoring a five-year review period on promised greenhouse gas cuts, a top official said on Wednesday.

Regular reviews are seen as a crucial part of any agreement since countries’ current pledges to cut emissions – submitted by 185 nations to the United Nations – will fail to prevent temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, seen as a dangerous level.

Countries have disagreed as to how often audits of those plans should take place. While many major emitters including China, the United States and the European Union supported a five-year period, a term included in an outline U.N. text last month, others such as India have been reluctant to commit.

“It seems now there is a growing consensus that (reviews) will be every five years,” U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres told a news conference on the third day of talks.There was still little progress on thornier issues, though, such as funding for developing nations and a long-term goal for phasing out fossil fuels.

That prompted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to urge delegates to quicken efforts to whittle down a lengthy draft.

On the reviews, there was still uncertainty about when they would start and any conditions to ensure they result in increased action. “These are issues for negotiations,” said Ajay Mathur, director general of the bureau of energy efficiency and a leading member of the Indian delegation.

Two days after world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping gave speeches of encouragement, delegates are locked in debating a draft text of more than 50 pages shot through with points of disagreement that have held back a deal since negotiations began four years ago in South Africa.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Alister Doyle; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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