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Climate Change Conference

COP21. Climate text delayed: it won’t be out earlier than Saturday

In attesa del testo definitivo, che dovrebbe arrivare sabato, alla Cop 21 fa discutere la nuova bozza. Che “cancella” i diritti umani.

Thursday has been a very long day at COP21. The longest since the Climate Conference has begun. A new draft agreement was supposed to be published at 2 p.m., but it has been delayed to 7 p.m. and then 9 p.m. And shortly after its release, negotiations started once again until 5 a.m., when the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced: “The final text won’t be released today, but on Sunday”.

 

 

Apparently, as the moment of truth gets closer, numerous governments decided to overstate. At 9.30 a.m. this morning, the NGO Nicolas Hulot Foundation has called a press conference, where president said: “I think about all the people I met over the 3 preparatory years ahead of COP21. Men and women dramatically affected by climate change: to me, their judgement will be important eventually. This conference gave them hope, and we don’t have the right to disappoint them. I tell governments that rather than building walls, it’s time to build bridges. If today we give up, this means preventing peoples from making their voice heard. And this would lead to fanaticism”.

The latest draft agreement

The draft agreement released on Thursday night presents some progresses yet many steps backwards compared to previous versions. It is a 27-page document, and brackets (denoting disagreement) decreased to 48. This means that talks allowed solving numerous sticking points.

 

However, NGOs are disappointed due to the fact that the aim to limit the global average temperature rise hasn’t been set to 1.5°C, as previously asked by the countries most affected by climate change. Indeed, the goal set is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels”. This is certainly better than just “2 degrees”, but it provides room for interpretation. 1.5 degrees are mentioned, but only “recognizing that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change”.

Do not say “decarbonisation”

The world “decarbonisation” hasn’t been mentioned. Saudi Arabia and Iraq – leading oil producers – have strongly pushed for the word not to appear.

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According to NGOs, Saudi Arabia will be remembered as one of the countries that most slowed down COP21 talks ©Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images

Moreover, INDCs (the pledges to reduce GHG emissions submitted by governments ahead of COP21) are not enough to achieve a limit on temperature increase to 2 degrees (they can guarantee +2.7°C). For this reason, NGOs asked the establishment of a date for an update “by 2017 or 2018”, but has been set 2025. “If INDCs won’t be reviewed regularly, every 5 years, this agreement will be pointless,” said Miguel Arias Canete, Climate and Energy European Commissioner.

 

 

Ursula Ravoka, representative of the Carteret Islands, Pacific archipelago that risks to be submerged due to sea level rise: “Right as it is, the agreement gives us no hope”. “Leading countries talk about a deal to protect the planet and generations to come, but we start to think that they’re just fine words,” said Joni Pegram of Unicef.

barack obama presidente usa
© Andrea Barolini/LifeGate

Human rights have been left behind

Another controversial issue that triggered indignation among NGOs is the elimination of the reference to the respect of human rights. Benjamin Schachter, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the decision is not acceptable and asked the sentence to be reintroduced. According to AFP, several countries agreed for its removal, such as Saudi Arabia, Norway, and the United States. “We are extremely disappointed,” said the humanitarian organisation Oxfam.

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