COP21: Expectations grow for temperature targets deal

New alliance between European Union and 79 vulnerable nations adds to optimism

There has been significant progress over the past 24 hours in the search for a global climate deal with growing support for the lower target of a 1.5-degree

temperature increase.

A new alliance between the EU and 79 vulnerable countries has added to a sense of optimism as the COP21 negotiations enter their final stages.

The French presidency under foreign minister Laurent Fabius has won widespread praise for its handling of the negotiations. It will present a new, "clean" draft text at 1pm today which is expected to offer clear options to the almost 200 negotiating governments on key issues.


Very positive

“It is going very well,” said

Mohamed Adow

, a senior figure with Climate Action Network. “At this stage compared to Copenhagen and other climate summits, it is all very positive. The politics of process has given way to the politics of substance.”

There is growing support among the bigger players to strengthen the text of the proposed agreement to include a reference to limiting the average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. It is still expected, however, that any legally binding target in the final agreement would be closer to 2 degrees.

The EU, which has signalled support for the more ambitious target, last night announced that it had reached an agreement with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states on a number of key issues, which have been among the most divisive.

Legally binding

They include a commitment that the Paris accord be legally binding, that clear long-term goals are set out and that a five-year review mechanism is introduced.

They have also agreed that the accord should include transparency and accountability systems to make sure that parties honour the pledges on carbon emission reductions.

As part of the pact, the EU will pay €475 million to support climate action in the 79 countries up to 2020.

There are still some major issues to be resolved. The plenary session of COP21 heard last night that there is no clear agreement on the contentious issue of loss and damage, which covers the demand for compensation and liability by countries already severely affected by climate change.

This remained a “red line” issue for parties, the session was told.

There are also differences on key issues such as securing agreement between the 195 countries to commit to more ambitious targets in future that would involve early start dates, new pledges and mechanisms for regular and transparent reviews of those new plans.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times