‘Very difficult’ issues dog Paris climate talks, says ‘hopeful’ Kerry

  • AFP, Le Bourget, France
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2015 19:31 IST
US secretary of state John Kerry, right, walks with White House senior advisor Brian Deese, left, and US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern to attend a meeting with French foreign minister during the COP21, United Nations conference on climate change in Le Bourget, north of Paris. (AP Photo)

World powers must still make tough decisions to agree a global climate pact that will head off the threat of global warming, US secretary of state John Kerry said Friday.

“We had a very constructive meeting. We made a lot of progress,” he said, after talks with summit host, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius. “Progress made last night, a long night, but there’s still a couple of very difficult issues we’re working on.”

Kerry would not be drawn on which issues in particular had become sticking points, but after speaking to reporters he went to meet Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar.

India has demanded that developed countries like the United States shoulder more of the cost that countries face in adapting to the effects of climate change.

“The responsibility is on a lot of us to provide language for potential compromise in areas where it’s possible,” Kerry warned. Asked about a pledge that Fabius had made that a compromise text would be produced early on Saturday, Kerry was cautious, saying: “Well, that’s the hope.”

“It’s possible that it could come to a conclusion some time tomorrow,” he added.

According to Washington’s top diplomat, responsibility for ironing out the remaining kinks in the draft falls on the French presidency of the UN summit.

But he suggested the United States and other powers have been working in parallel to head off disagreements between the players before they surface.

“Some of us have been working quietly behind the scenes to work out compromises ahead of time on some of those issues,” he said.

“So tomorrow (Saturday) will really be a reflection of those compromises surfacing, and hopefully there’s a consensus.”

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