Hours before the release of a new draft of the Paris agreement, signs look grim

Published: 9th December 2015

The situation looks grim as Oxfam awaits the release of a revised and likely second-to-last draft of a global climate change agreement, expected to be released on Wednesday afternoon. Our experts are concerned that negotiators might be settling for the lowest common denominator in several critical areas.

Oxfam Executive Director Helen Szoke said: "We're very concerned over the direction the talks have seemingly taken, as it looks like countries are appearing to settle for what's easiest to agree to instead of what's right for their people and the planet. It's not too late to strengthen the deal, but we need real leadership and action inside those closed-door meetings now." 

Here's what to look for this afternoon:

On finance:
-Will the option to establish new funding goals for the years after 2020 still be in play? 

-Will there be a guarantee of any kind that the amount of funds specifically dedicated to helping vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change  will increase? 

On countries' carbon cuts pledges:
-After early signs that would be dropped, will the provision to review countries' emission reduction pledges (INDCs) before 2020 make it onto this draft? The European Union and others have been pushing hard on this issue. If there are no hooks left to strengthen emissions cuts before the agreement takes effect from 2020, it will be hard to argue the deal will force countries onto an emissions trajectory that will limit warming to the agreed target of 2C (let alone the 1.5C Oxfam and many countries are demanding).

On "Loss and Damage":
-Will it have its own article, or be merged with adaptation? Will the issue of compensation or liability for climate-related losses be addressed head-on, or will a bridging proposal have emerged? Will the proposed new coordination mechanism for people displaced by rising seas and other climate change catastrophes still be on the table?

On human rights:
-Is the clause addressing human rights and gender equality still in Article 2, or will it have been downgraded to the preamble of the agreement?

On a long-term goal to phase-out fossil fuels:
-Four options were in play earlier. Have they been narrowed down, or have any new ones been added around which a consensus might emerge? Will a shorter list include options implying "net" zero fossil fuel emissions? This has been spun as "climate neutrality,"  which would have dramatic land use implications in developing countries which would lead to mass displacement of people. Huge amounts of land would be needed to absorb carbon from the atmosphere to compensate for continued fossil fuel emissions elsewhere.

Notes to editors

Oxfam's policy experts observing the negotiations in Paris will review the draft and an updated analysis will be released later in the day. 

Contact information

Lucy Brinicombe +33 (0)7 68 49 05 70 / +44 (0)7786 110054 / lbrinicombe@oxfam.org.uk 

Simon Hernandez-Arthur +33 (0)7 68 16 64 25 / +1 (585) 503 4568 / simon.hernandezarthur@oxfaminternational.org 

Sarah Roussel +33 (0)6 51 15 54 38 / sroussel@oxfamfrance.org

For updates, please follow @Oxfam, or the Oxfam team in Paris https://twitter.com/Oxfam/lists/oxfam-cop21-paris