World’s most vulnerable people must not be forgotten as climate negotiations come to a close

Published: 11th December 2015

Oxfam Executive Director Helen Szoke said: “Climate funding, urgent emissions reductions and loss and damage must not be the casualties in the eleventh hour. More adaptation funding and stronger action to curb emissions are crucial for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, while people need further support where adaptation is no longer an option.”

What happened to the outcome expected today?

The text that the COP Presidency presented last night was ultimately a proposal on what they thought could be a platform for agreement. However, when the text was discussed in informal conversations overnight, it became clear that key problematic areas remained over ambition targets to reduce emissions, the different roles that different countries should play and climate finance.

Finance: China wants to delete the inclusion requiring that emerging economies contribute climate finance, while the US wants references to the $100bn goal agreed in Copenhagen moved from the legal agreement to its accompanying COP decision. There has however been growing support for the inclusion of setting on a regular basis new quantitative finance targets for the period after 2020.

Differentiation: Developing countries want more flexibility on areas like the verification of their emissions reductions and language describing their role as part of a “shared effort” to mobilise finance for climate action, while developed countries are pushing back on this.

Emissions targets: On the critical issue of strengthening the INDCs tabled ahead of Paris before they enter into force in 2020, and every five years thereafter, Saudi Arabia and Russia are pushing for weaker provisions. The US and EU were pushing for a moment before 2020 for some of the national pledges (INDCs) to be confirmed or updated. However, this review means that implementation will not happen before 2020, making it harder to keep 2 degrees – let alone 1.5 degrees - within reach.

Loss and Damage remains one of the most contentious and difficult issues on which to reach agreement. Progress is needed towards securing funding on top of adaptation, where that is no longer an option, and helping with the coordination of people displaced as a result of climate change.

Where now?

The next text is expected at 8am tomorrow or at midday. Delegates are scheduled to reconvene at 12 noon either way. On this basis, an agreement is likely later on in the day.

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