Specific reference to the rights of indigenous people have been stricken from the new draft text. As a result, a large-scale protest broke out inside Le Bourget.
The Paris Project: Day 10
A New Draft and Some Old Problems Bring COP21 to the Brink
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The heat is officially rising at Le Bourget. As promised by COP21 President and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius earlier in the week, Wednesday afternoon saw the release of yet another new draft agreement, a markedly slimmer document than what negotiators were dealing with just a few days ago. Even better, the still-forming accord, thanks to the efforts of Fabius and his uniquely composed facilitating team, was minus more than 60 percent of the disagreements it had when things started just ten days ago. However, this “progress” may have come at a price. A potentially deal-destroying price.
By Kodiak Greenwood
Celebrated Earth activist and philanthropist Bianca Jagger found herself in the midst of the action during an impromptu protest at Le Bourget on Wednesday evening.
The day began with high and anxious hopes at Le Bourget. Delegates from around the world, official observers, and the throngs of NGO lobbying groups waited with baited breath for the new draft to be released. Wednesday’s version marked the first time that various options and “brackets” and language disputes proposed by negotiators would be massaged and potentially reworked by Fabius and his team and the insights provided by his recently appointed Comité de Paris. This is a crucial step in the process if a deal is to get done by the conference’s scheduled close Friday evening but also a dangerous one, as too heavy of a hand by the French team would have the potential to set off any number of angry reactions by the many different nations and civil society groups with skin in the game and widely diverging viewpoints.
By Kodiak Greenwood
Several longstanding issues about finance and responsibility reared their head at the Comité de Paris meeting late Wednesday night, threatening to bring negotiations to a grinding halt.
The new deal dropped for public consumption at 3 p.m. Paris time, and before the doors were closed in Plenary Room 1 for the night some eight hours later, one thing was clear; people were pissed. The draft was certainly a more streamlined document, just 29-pages long and carrying only 366 “brackets” of diverging viewpoints on language and policy. The latter tally is worlds away from the more than 1,000 brackets that existed last week. Add this to the fact that one of the four major cross-cutting issues that Fabius dispatched his Comité de Paris to deal with— adaptation— was all but completely devoid of brackets and, at least in a simple metrics sense, progress had once again been made. Unfortunately, the devil is, as always, in the details, and in this case, those details — at least as they currently sit — are some major fighting words across familiar battle lines between countries and civil society advocacy groups.
As predicted, the problems center around the classic clash of wants and wishes between the world’s haves and have nots and the always sticky topic of financing. At the risk of being overly reductive, the big trouble boils down to a small and interconnected handful of things.
First, are the 186 so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that virtually all the countries submitted at the start of the conference detailing their various pledges of carbon cuts. Unfortunately, when taken in concert, at least according to the assorted teams of scientists and analysts closely eye-balling this process, these INDCPs would not adequately prevent the planet’s average temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius from pre-Industrial Revolution levels by the end of the century. The 2-degree mark has long been the bare minimum number that science has said a potential Paris Agreement would have to aspire to in order to stave off world-changing sea level rise and associated climate chaos.
More to the point, the vast majority of countries at the negotiating table, as well as the civil society and eco-minded lobby groups, are now saying a 1.5 degrees Celsius uptick has to be the new maximum number allowed if there is to be any long-term hope for many low-lying and island nations.
The disparity between these two views and its related controversy is only flamed higher by the new draft’s failure to outline how exactly these INDCPs would be monitored and enforced once a Paris deal goes live in 2020. Some countries, like the United States and a coalition of island nations, want these plans closely monitored and verified by a third party while also having a mechanism in place for revisiting and revising them every five years so that they can best reflect the unfolding realities of a planet in flux. Others, however, like India and China, have no desire to be forced to possibly change their pledges on a regular basis in the years ahead, as they fear they may not be able to do so. And still others think that any sort of monitoring or transparency protocol has to go further than what the U.S. and its “High-Ambition Coalition” are advocating for and have some real teeth put in place that would fiscally punish offending nations should they fail to hit their pledge targets.
By Kodiak Greenwood
Taukelina Finikaso, Foreign Minister of Tuvalu — the low-lying Pacific atoll nation — sat down with The Independent’s Ethan Stewart to talk about his home’s dire situation.
And then there is the issue of money. The countries most vulnerable to the perils of climate change (think the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and northern Africa), believe the current language of the draft does not go far enough in holding the big-money, big-polluting nations— like the U.S., China, and those of the European Union — responsible for their role in creating the climate change situation we currently find ourselves in. More accurately, they feel the draft needs specific language that guarantees them funding and support to both mitigate climate-caused impacts, as well as adapt to potential new ways of life and energy needs. All this, of course, requires money. Lots and lots of money on an annual basis, and the new draft does not necessarily nail down where that money would come from.
Lastly, there are issues and upsets with language. Things like special concern for or mention of indigenous populations, health issues, and gender equality have now been stricken from the text, a move that had many NGOs up in arms. In fact, motivated by this and the big overarching blow to “climate justice” that all the above areas of friction have created in the draft, a couple hundred of these Civil Society Organization members gathered just outside of Plenary Room 1 (where all the big-ticket, multi-national assemblies happen) in what was the conference’s first real protest.
Outraged by the direction negotiations are going, hundreds of civil society members held a passionate, impromptu protest inside of Le Bourget on Wednesday evening.