Image: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks during a news conference ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York September 26, 2015. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi
By Alister Doyle
BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Prospects for a U.N. deal in Paris in December meant to mark a “turning point” in slowing climate change have brightened after an acrimonious start to the final preparatory talks in Germany, France said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there was a growing consensus that national pledges for curbing greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, the building blocks of a deal in Paris, should be reviewed and toughened every five years.
“The climate … is positive” for a deal in Paris despite acrimony between many nations on Monday over a pared-down draft agreement for Paris that had cut out many governments’ core demands, he told a news conference in Bonn.
Fabius, who will lead the summit, said a deal would not solve all problems but could put the world on track for a shift from fossil fuels towards greener energy.
“It’s a turning point,” he said of the planned deal in Paris at the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit.
Delegates said the mood was better after the week-long Bonn talks opened on Monday with many developing nations objecting to a pared-down 20-page draft agreement, drawn up by senior diplomats, that omitted core demands.
Overnight the text swelled to 34 pages with all nations allowed to make additions, such as developing nations’ calls for an increase in aid after 2020 and assurances that the rich will lead in making deep cuts in emissions.
That text is still far more manageable than an original that had run to 80 pages, outlining ways to limit emissions to avert heatwaves, floods and rising seas.
“Fears that the document would expand out of control were laid to rest,” said Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa, who represents more than 130 developing nations.
On Monday she had denounced the former text as a form of “apartheid” depriving the poor of their voice.
Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate envoy, said the talks had averted a damaging collapse, saying: “They could very well have exploded.”
Fabius said there were also reasons for optimism because more than 150 nations have now submitted national plans for action beyond 2020, representing almost 90 percent of emissions.
Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, said it had been obvious for a long time that pledges in Paris would not be enough to limit warming to a U.N. goal of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
The hope is that each nation will toughen restrictions on emissions over coming years, she said.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle/Ruth Pitchford)
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