Slow pace of talks leads to scepticism about Paris climate summit

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Paris
  • Updated: Dec 03, 2015 03:48 IST
Prime minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget. (REUTERS Photo)

From optimism the first day, the Paris climate talks descended into scepticism on Wednesday with negotiators shoehorning new agenda for a likely international agreement to cope with global warming.

Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister and president of the conference, expressed concern over the “slow pace” of negotiations in the different auxiliary groups with each one discussing a contentious issue for the Paris deal.

Indian representatives said differences between various teams have widened since Monday when 154 heads of state struck a conciliatory note.

“I will urge the negotiators to speed up the resolution of differences to have a text for political discussion starting next week,” the minister told reporters.

Fabius has asked interlocutors to submit a “consensus” draft by Saturday for final discussions by ministers next week.

Among contentious issues are the review mechanism for climate action plan 2030 of every country, higher ambition from the developed world and a clear road map for climate finance after 2020. While rich countries have committed $100 billion by 2020, they have not promised anything beyond that period.

“We are still at an early stage where there are difficulties and possibility of resolution. It is too early in the day to say what would be there in the final agreement,” said Ajay Mathur, chief spokesperson of India’s climate negotiating team. “We are here to negotiate and we are talking to narrow down differences”.

He also said India was willing to reduce its carbon emissions from coal, provided rich countries pay for faster adoption of cleaner technologies. Mathur argued that more foreign money would reduce the capital expenditure for investors in the renewable sector.

His remarks came on a day the World Health Organization warned that carbon emissions from coal-fired plants were contributing to massive pollution in countries like India and there was growing disappointment against New Delhi’s refusal to reduce dependence on coal for its energy needs.

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