Cyprus Mail

Paris climate talks likely to go to the wire – Sweden

The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France

Negotiations to reach a climate change deal next month in Paris are likely to go down to the final moments with financing remaining one of the toughest subjects on which to reach agreement, senior Swedish officials said.

Sweden is considered by many to be a potential bridge between developed and developing nations. It has promised about $580 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund, one of the main channels for donor countries to mobilise more than $100 billion a year in aid for developing nations by 2020 from public and private sources.

Governments have made some progress towards a goal of limiting warming of the planet with national plans for action, but according to a French working document, more than 30 core questions remain unsolved before the Nov 30 to Dec 11 summit on global warming starts in Paris.

“A lot of ministers are not happy that the text is so full of brackets so close to the meeting,” Sweden’s Environment Minister Asa Romson told reporters late on Monday as ministers gathered for warm-up talks.

An updated draft text of an accord has whittled down a final text by about half to cover 55 pages, but it still has 1,490 brackets marking points of disagreement and remains far longer than hoped.

Disputes over financing for poor nations have been a drag on the talks among almost 200 countries. Some delegates fear a repeat of the failed 2009 summit in Copenhagen, though others are confident of a breakthrough.

“I think we cannot compare to Copenhagen. Technically, we are more advanced than in Copenhagen,” Romson said, adding there was a greater sense of urgency now than in 2009.

Chief negotiator Anna Lindstedt, who has led the Swedish delegation at previous talks, said she thought the talks would only make real progress in Paris.

“I think so,” she said, when asked whether they would likely drag on to the final moments.

However, she said the fact that more than 150 nations including China and the United States had issued plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), were a key step forward.

Asked about the issue of nations promising financing and not yet delivering while developing nations hold back waiting for the cash, Romson said it was clearly ‘not very helpful’ for negotiators when promises were not fulfilled.

“The cost of inaction is too high,” Romson said.

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