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Nations Inch Towards Climate Deal At Marathon Un Summit

19 December 2018
Nations Inch Towards Climate Deal At Marathon Un Summit

Negotiators told AFP that delegates from almost 200 states were still far apart on several crunch issues - from how nations report reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, to the levels of help given to countries already hurting from climate change.

At their heart, negotiations were about how each nation funds action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as how those actions are reported.

"Congratulations to the United Nations, scientists, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and all negotiators".

The final draft decision text was repeatedly delayed as negotiators sought to form guidelines that are effective in slashing emissions while protecting the economies of rich and poor nations alike.

The protests had led Macron to scrap a controversial fuel tax last week. France and Europe must show the way.

Many encouraging announcements, especially on financial commitments for climate action, were made: Germany and Norway pledged that they would double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund, established to enable developing countries to act; the World Bank also announced it would increase its commitment to climate action after 2021 to $200 billion; the climate Adaptation Fund received a total of $129 million.

At the COP24 talks, delegates clashed over financing, with poorer countries most affected by climate change demanding recognition of the damage that it causes and long-term financial support.

Officials say the closing meeting at the United Nations climate talks has been delayed until 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) Saturday, prompting a collective groan from delegates.

The Paris Agreement calls for setting up a mechanism to guard against practices that could undermine such a market, but finding a solution has proved so problematic that the debate has been kicked down the road to next year.

Following several sleepless nights, cheers and applause welcomed the COP24 President, Michal Kurtyka, as he opened the conference's closing plenary meeting, which had been postponed close to a dozen times.

Progress had "been held up by Brazil, when it should have been held up by the small islands".

A UN-commissioned report by the IPCC in October warned that keeping the Earth's temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C would need "unprecedented changes" in every aspect of society.

"It is a bit hard to compromise when there are 190-plus countries".

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) took place on December 2-14.

Admitting stalemates during the negotiations over accounting of climate actions, Espinosa said: "From the beginning of the COP, it very quickly became clear that this was one area that still required much work and that the details to operationalise this part of the Paris Agreement had not yet been sufficiently explored".

But the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected, leading to watered-down wording.

With the political climate process sputtering on well into its 3rd decade as emissions rise remorselessly, activists have stepped up grassroots campaigns of civil disobedience to speed up action.

"We are organising for repeated disruption, and we are targeting our governments, calling for the system change needed to deal with the crisis that we are facing", the spokesman added.