With new climate draft, a deal creeps closer in Paris

PARIS, (Reuters) – A week and a half of talks produced a slimmer but still-troubled version of a climate deal yesterday, with negotiators from 195 countries divided over how far to go in curbing global temperature rises – and how to pay for it.

“We’ve made progress but still a lot of work remains to be done,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told delegates gathered on the outskirts of Paris who are supposed to wrap up an accord by tomorrow.

Fabius said the new text snipped 14 pages from the previous 43-page draft and settled two-thirds of the disputes over wording. He set negotiators the task of coming up with a new draft by Thursday afternoon.

But a string of remaining disputes, at the climax of four years of negotiations, reflect fundamental disagreements about which countries should shoulder the cost of moving the world to a low-carbon energy system.

Developing countries are demanding that rich governments be obliged to scale up climate finance from the $100 billion a year already promised beginning in 2020.

Wealthier countries balk at language that would leave them legally bound to do so and are pressing for an alternative plan that would see financial resources drawn from a wider community of donor nations such as China and others that can afford it.

Differences also remain over what is known as the “ambition” of the agreement. That includes reviewing and toughening promises for action in future, probably every five years, to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

And there are sharp divisions over whether the ultimate target of the deal should hold global warming to a 2 degree Celsius rise (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, or the 1.5 Celsius (2.7 F) that more than 100 developing nations say is the only safe level to avert more storms, downpours and rising seas.

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