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COP21: more time for talking

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COP21: more time for talking
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  • Deadline extended to Saturday
  • Rapid cuts in greenhouse gases planned
  • China, Saudi Arabia refuse to yield
  • “A very hard night” – source

Efforts to craft a global agreement to combat climate change are faltering at the final fence.

It has been a hard night

Delegates from China and other nations, are standing their ground over some of the demands being made at the COP 21 in Paris.

Greenhouse gas emissions and monitoring are a major sticking point.

Delegations are also divided on who should pay for developing nations to move to low-carbon economies.

What is the problem?

Some nations, including China, are refusing to give ground on their demands.

Beijing is resisting a call from the US and EU for all states to review and update their national plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions every five years.

President Xi Jinping has already promised that carbon dioxide emissions from China’s rapidly-developing economy will start falling from around 2030. He does not want to revise this target.

China is also reiterating demands for developed nations to do more to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Is China the only one to object?

No. Other countries are also standing their ground.

Saudi Arabia, for example, says it will resist calls for the rise in global temperatures to be limited to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. The concern is this could jeopardise oil production.

Delegations are also divided on who should pay for developing nations to move to low-carbon economies.

The cost of managing the effects of climate change is also an issue. Scientists say this will raise sea levels and accelerate desertification along with triggering more intense and frequents floods, storms and droughts.

Is there a plan?


France, which is hosting the COP21, has extended the UN-sponsored summit by a day to allow the talks to continue.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the final text will now be presented to the nearly 200 nations present for review on Saturday.

“I am sure it will be approved. This will be a great step forward for all humanity.” he told reporters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has met with the Chinese delegation at the talks.

“The issues have been identified during years of negotiations. Very good solutions have already been presented. This morning we have a much cleaner, streamlined text. This is a good basis for further negotiations.”

Chinese state television reports that Barack Obama and Xi Jinping have spoken over the telephone about the disagreement.