Paris Talks Run Long, Hinge on One Final Issue

Final draft expected Saturday: Laurent Fabius
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 11, 2015 6:56 AM CST
John Kerry, right, walks with White House senior advisor Brian Deese, left, and US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern at the COP 21 United Nations conference.   (Mandel Ngan Pool via AP)
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(Newser) – High-stakes climate talks outside Paris will not end Friday as planned but will continue at least one more day as diplomats try to overcome disagreements over how—or even whether—to share the costs of fighting climate change and shift to clean energy on a global scale. Negotiators from more than 190 countries are trying to reach a deal for all countries to reduce man-made carbon emissions and cooperate to adapt to rising seas and increasingly extreme weather caused by human activity. John Kerry zipped in and out of negotiation rooms as delegates broke into smaller groups overnight to iron out their differences. After talks wrapped up at nearly 6am Friday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he is aiming for a final draft Saturday. "There is still work to do," he said. "Things are going in the right direction."

Analysts say the delay is not necessarily a bad sign. "We would rather they take their time," says a rep for advocacy group Avaaz. "Getting 200 countries to agree ... on the future of the planet and a deal on climate change is probably one of the toughest pieces of negotiation they'll ever get involved in." Some delegates say a new draft accord presented late Thursday allowed rich nations to shift the responsibility to the developing world. Countries including Malaysia, India, China, and Saudi Arabia, have put up the fiercest resistance against attempts by the US and other wealthy nations to make emerging economies pitch in to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and help the poorest countries cope with climate change. The issue, known as "differentiation," was expected to be one of the last to be resolved. "We cannot just switch overnight ... and go to renewables," says a Malaysian negotiator. "If you remove differentiation you create very serious problems for developing countries." (Read more Paris stories.)

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