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We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says

The level of carbon now in the atmosphere hasn’t been seen in 12 million years, a Harvard scientist said in Chicago Thursday, and this pollution is rapidly pushing the climate back to its state in the Eocene Epoch, more than 33 million years ago, when there was no ice on either pole. “We have exquisite information about what that state ... Read More »

Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund to remain invested in Big Oil stocks

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world's biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world's biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake in oil and gas explorers and producers but will continue to invest in energy companies that have refineries and are engaged in distribution and retail sales of oil and gas products. The announcement means the fund will remain invested in Big Oil companies such as Shell, BP, Total and ExxonMobil, in which it owns significant stakes. Oslo said the move is based solely on financial considerations and that it does not reflect any particular view of the oil industry's future prospects. Return on the fund's investment in oil and gas stocks fell 9.5 percent last year. Norway's central bank, which manages the mammoth fund, has long maintained that the divestment was aimed at reducing the country's exposure to the energy sector. The fund is used to invest the proceeds of the country's oil and gas industry, amounting to more than 20 percent of Norway's revenue. "The Government is proposing to exclude companies classified as exploration and production companies within the energy sector from the Government Pension Fund Global," the finance ministry said in a statement. "The objective is to reduce the vulnerability of our common wealth to a permanent oil price decline." It was widely expected that the fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. Norges Bank, the central bank, had in 2017 proposed a total divestment of oil and gas stocks. The fund had holdings worth around $37 billion — 5.9 percent of its total equity investments — in the oil sector at the end of last year. But a bulk of that amount is invested in integrated oil companies that are engaged in everything from exploration to selling fuel at the roadside. 'Missed opportunity' Norway's decision evoked mixed feelings among climate activists, who were expecting Oslo to go the whole hog. "It's a lost opportunity," Martin Norman of Greenpeace's Norwegian chapter told DW. "We are running against time and Norway had a chance to move fast but instead decided to move slowly." Norman, however, said the Norwegian government's announcement was a "step in the right direction" that would prompt other investors to back away from fossil fuels. "The government has acknowledged the problem of over exposure to oil," he said. "But I disagree with the medicine they are prescribing."

Oslo has said the oil fund will only shed its stakes in oil and gas explorers and producers. It was widely expected that the world’s biggest sovereign fund would dump all of its oil and gas investments for good. The Norwegian government said on Friday its $1 trillion asset manager— the world’s biggest sovereign fund — will sell its stake ... Read More »

Germany protests call for leadership on climate action

From Berlin to Cologne, protesters have gathered to demand more from the government in the fight against climate change. Greenpeace said Germany must lead, and that means phasing out coal by 2030. Thousands of protesters gathered on Saturday in Berlin and Cologne to demand bolder measures to combat climate change. Some 36,000 people joined the rallies. Organizers said the protest aimed to pressure the government into ending Germany's reliance on coal for its energy needs and instead looking to renewable energies, such as solar energy and wind power. "The point is that Germany must phase out coal by 2030," Jennifer Morgan, who leads Greenpeace International, told the Agence France-Presse news agency. "What happens in high-tech Germany, how quickly the climate-damaging combustion of coal is replaced by solar energy and wind power, is very important, also for other countries." Local to global In Berlin, protesters focused on changing government policy, while the demonstrations in Cologne highlighted the plight of Hambach Forest. The ancient forest has been a site of contention between anti-coal protesters and German energy giant RWE, which wants to clear the area to expand an open coal mine. Environmental activists argue that Germany should be winding down coal consumption, not expanding it. Germany was set to release a report on phasing out coal but later postponed the release until 2019.

From Berlin to Cologne, protesters have gathered to demand more from the government in the fight against climate change. Greenpeace said Germany must lead, and that means phasing out coal by 2030. Thousands of protesters gathered on Saturday in Berlin and Cologne to demand bolder measures to combat climate change. Some 36,000 people joined the rallies. Organizers said the protest ... Read More »

COP23: Fake Donald Trump marches in Carnival-themed climate protests in Bonn

With anti-nuclear banners, polar bear costumes and Carnival-style floats, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Bonn to urge governments to do more to combat climate change. A fake Donald Trump, the devil and a crew of buccaneering pirates were among thousands of environmental activists who hit the soggy streets of Bonn on Saturday to cast out coal, oil and nuclear energy — the "evil spirits of climate change." "Climate change doesn't react to nice words — only to deeds," Dagmar Paternoga from Attac Germany, a network critical of globalization, told DW. "We demand an end to coal, an end to fossil fuels, [more] renewable energy and we're also demanding a mobility transition." No Climate Change, the group leading the demonstration, said some 2,000 people from Germany and around the world marched from downtown Bonn toward the site where the climate conference is taking place near the United Nations headquarters. A subsequent climate protest took place in the city center. They both wanted to grab the attention of COP23 climate conference attendees gathered in the western German city. Thousands of delegates from over 190 countries are taking part in the Fiji-hosted climate conference, which runs until November 17. "We have to put pressure on politicians and negotiators at the COP so that they will make concrete targets and binding agreements," said Paternoga over the music and drums from the colorful anti-fossil fuel and nuclear protest. Parties to the Paris Agreement have set non-binding national targets to cut emissions and are now hammering out the details of how they can monitor and compare progress ahead of the COP24 set to take place in Poland in 2018. If delegates fail to reach a decision, it will be difficult to keep global average warming under 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit), say observers. Protest with Carnival flair The protest kicked off in Bonn city center at 11.11a.m. local time (1011 UTC) to coincide with the start of the Carnival season celebrated mainly in western Germany. To mark the day, people don fancy dress costumes and party on the streets of cities like Cologne. Puppets representing Earth and the "bad ghosts of coal and nuclear energy" fought it out on the streets of Bonn. Unicorns demanded "candy instead of coal" and passed out candies to the crowd. Others dressed as characters from dystopian movies and films, such as Imperator Furiosa play by Charlize Theron in "Mad Max Fury Road." In another nod to Carnival celebrations, large floats accompanied the activists, including a ghost-pirate ship afloat on a sea of nuclear waste. Germany is set to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2022 but disputes remain over how to safely store the waste. Other countries, like India, want to use nuclear power alongside renewables as an alternative to fossil fuels. "There is a big fear that there are a lot of nations that want to fight climate change with nuclear power and we are here because we know what nuclear power does to the earth and to the people," said attendee Martin Donat, who was dressed as a rusting barrel of nuclear waste. Trump wants to pollute On one float, an activist dressed as US President Donald Trump was driven through the streets by a fleet of polar bears in a Volkswagen convertible — the German automaker has admitted to cheating on diesel emissions tests worldwide. A tipped-over, smoking model of the Statue of Liberty was dragged behind the troupe. Jens Galschiot, the art-activist from Denmark behind the float, said it was important for artists to represent what is going on in the world with climate change and to build a bridge between scientists and ordinary citizens. But Galschiot’s main criticism was aimed at the Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement. "Trump is perhaps most extremely saying we want to pollute, we want to consume. He doesn’t care about the whole world. This is the reason we have Trump with us," Galschiot, who was dressed as a polar bear, told DW. An end to coal Activists from countries like the Philippines and India joined the protest to demand more financial support from industrialized nations in adapting to climate change. Those from Germany said the country had to turn its back on coal. "We're of the opinion that Germany is doing too little to protect the climate," Uwe Lipke from environmental group BUND, told DW. "We would like Ms Merkel [Germany’s Chancellor] to push the winding down of coal." Germany is seen as a leader in the fight against climate change and renewable energy but has not yet set a date for phasing out of coal, which emits large amounts of CO2 when burned. Coal makes up around 40 percent of the country's energy mix. As a result, it will likely miss its ambitious 2020 target of reducing CO2 emissions 40 percent compared to 1990 levels, according to government calculations given to German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Unless industrialized states, in particular, phase out coal, environmentalists and scientists say it will be difficult to meet the Paris objectives and avoid catastrophic climate change. Those at the demonstration worried global leaders might not be up to the task, but remained hopeful. "What really concerns people is that the protecting of the climate won’t get better, that politicians will fail," said Paternoga from Attac. "I personally would like for my grandchildren to be able to still live on this Earth." Louise Osborne, Patrick Große and Rebecca Staudenmaier contributed to this report.

With anti-nuclear banners, polar bear costumes and Carnival-style floats, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Bonn to urge governments to do more to combat climate change. A fake Donald Trump, the devil and a crew of buccaneering pirates were among thousands of environmental activists who hit the soggy streets of Bonn on Saturday to cast out coal, oil ... Read More »

Fiji sees threat of coming climate exodus

The South Pacific island state of Kiribati is in danger of disappearing into the sea. Its government decided to buy land in Fiji to protect its residents from rising sea levels. Bastian Hartig paid a visit. "All that land," says Sade Marika as he makes a long, sweeping gesture with his arm, "belongs to Kiribati." The area that the thin man on the hill points out stretches from the South Pacific, a few kilometers off in the distance, to the mountain tops that scrape the sky about the same distance away in the other direction. A dense forest stretches between them. The area is more than 2,000 hectares (50,000 acres). The tiny island state of Kiribati purchased the property on the much larger and, above all, higher island of Fiji, three years ago. Residents on Fiji's coast are affected by rising sea levels, but those living in the interior of its two main islands – the volcanic mountains of which rise 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level – are not. Everything in the Kiribati atoll, on the other hand, is near the coast, with no part of any of its islands more than a few meters above sea level. Life for the island state's 115,000 residents is becoming increasingly difficult. The rising ocean is not only forcing people together on less and less land, it is also increasing the salinity of their drinking water. The forward-thinking president The coming disaster forced Kiribati's then president, Anote Tong, to take action back in 2014. It was his administration that purchased the piece of property that Sade Marika is now standing on. Marika is the village leader of the 270 resident community of Naviavia, just a few hundred meters down the dusty, red sand path that we are standing near. This is an idyllic corner of the world, framed by coconut palms on one side and a crystal clear rivulet on the other. It is very peaceful. A few men have gathered to chat, standing on the narrow path that winds its way through the village. Birds chirp all around and children are waiting for dinner as a dozen young men play rugby – Fiji's national sport – on the village sports field. These people are all the descendants of slaves that their former British overlords brought here from the Solomon Islands in the 19th century to work on cotton plantations. Naviavia's future, however, is uncertain. The tiny community lies right in the center of an area that now belongs to the country of Kiribati. And Kiribati has big plans for the area. "We were told that they want to farm here, planting mainly manioc (taro) and yaqona (the root from which kava is made)," explains Sade Marika. For the economic development of Kiribati When I ask Reteta Rimon, Kiribati's ambassador to Fiji, about the plan, I find that it is only half of the story. "We are still in the planning phase," says the elegant lady, on the sidelines of a preliminary meeting in Fiji's third-largest city, Nadi, ahead of the global climate summit in Bonn. "It has yet to be determined exactly what will be done with the land but whatever is done it will be used to benefit the economic development of Kiribati." The possibilities here are many and go far beyond farming. "There are also musings about expanding our fishing sector," says Rimon. The 33 islands and atolls that make up Kiribati are spread over an area of 5.2 million square kilometers (2 million square miles), the area is also home to the richest tuna fishing in the Pacific Ocean. To date, Kiribati has profited little from that fact. It leases out its own fishing licenses but most of the profits go to others and Kiribati residents scrape together an existence from shoreline fishing. "Our current government is planning to build up a new, open sea fishing fleet," explains Reteta Rimon. "Furthermore we want to start up a fish processing industry." That will require space and a lot of fresh water, things that Kiribati itself does not have. It also lacks other resources, like wood and stone. But all of those things do exist on the 20 square kilometers that surround Naviavia. Thus, sooner or later, the villagers will get new neighbors – even though no one knows just how many will come from Kiribati and when. Ex-President Anote Tong once said that if necessary all of Kiribati's residents could be sheltered on Fiji. But Reteta Rimon can't see that happening, "Kiribati is our home, we don't want to abandon it." Coming to grips with a new reality People in Naviavia express cautious optimism. "Here in the Pacific we are all somehow similar," says Efraimi Tangenagitu. The small, stout man stands in front of his wood and sheet metal hut. "I don't think we'll have any problems." But as he says this, his warm round face betrays a certain inner tension. When the plans were presented to the villagers they were by no means excited about the prospects. There were worries about whether they would be able to live together, simply because both peoples speak different languages. But now, no one really wants to talk about all that. People here say it is a done deal and they do not want to do anything to damage relations with their future neighbors before they even arrive. Kiribati also seems interested in cultivating good relations. The president himself visited the village to assure residents that they had nothing to fear. In Naviavia, residents have decided to accept this new reality – for they really have no other choice. No one ever asked them if they were in favor of selling off the land. The property itself belongs to the Anglican church, which simply allows villagers the right to use it. The village now has 120 hectares to use as it sees fit. Village leader Sade Marika says he wants to concentrate on the positive side of the situation. "They promised us that we would be included in the economic development of the country," he says, adding that he hopes Kiribati's plans will also mean jobs for Naviavia residents. The only thing that is certain here, is that lives will be fundamentally affected by climate change. In Naviavia, residents are determined to make the best of it. They have no other choice.

The South Pacific island state of Kiribati is in danger of disappearing into the sea. Its government decided to buy land in Fiji to protect its residents from rising sea levels. Bastian Hartig paid a visit. “All that land,” says Sade Marika as he makes a long, sweeping gesture with his arm, “belongs to Kiribati.” The area that the thin ... Read More »

UN COP22 closes with work plan to implement Paris climate pact

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh, Morocco, has been gaveled out with the approval of a work plan to combat climate change. The parties have agreed to meet again in 2017 to "review progress." Around midnight on Friday, nearly 200 nations agreed to work on a rule book for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Showing their determination to keep the Paris Agreement on track, the countries said the list of rules will be finished at the latest by December 2018. The deal agreed by United Nations negotiators closes out a two-week round of talks in Marrakesh, Morocco. The parties also agreed in the document to meet again in 2017 in order to "review progress." The guiding rules will help clear up many details left vague in the Paris Agreement such as how countries will monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions and how they will report their progress. The final version of Friday's agreed text also implored economically wealthy nations to commit to the goal of providing $100 billion (94.4 billion euros) of climate finance per year to developing countries by 2020. "We will continue on the path," Moroccan Foreign Minister and conference president Salaheddine Mezouar told a news conference. Appeals to Trump Mezouar also urged US President-elect Donald Trump to join other nations in their commitment to actively limit emissions. "We count on your pragmatism and your spirit of commitment," he said on Friday. Trump has made comments opposing the pact and has threatened to tear up the agreement. He has also called climate change a hoax which was invented by the Chinese. The president-elect has also promised to boost oil, gas and coal energy over renewable energy sources and threatened to halt US taxpayer funds for UN climate programs. The Prime Minister of Fiji, an island nation threatened by rising sea levels, also made an appeal to Trump on Friday, inviting him to see the effects of climate change for himself. "As the second biggest carbon emitter on earth, the United States must take responsibility for contributing to our collective response to this crisis and show leadership at this critical stage," said Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. 'Full implementation' Yesterday, the governments gathered in Morocco reaffirmed their commitment to the global climate pact. Their "Marrakesh Action Proclamation" urged for the "highest political commitment" to fight climate change as well as for the "full implementation" of the Paris Agreement. Although the two-year deadline on coming up with a rule book for the Paris Agreement may sound long, it took four years to agree the detailed rules for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That agreement obliged developed countries to cut their emissions, but the Paris Agreement requires committed action from all nations. The Paris Agreement became international law on November 4 but will go into effect in 2020. Although the countries submitted national plans to lower emissions, those plans do not currently reach the goal of limiting temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius. The annual UN climate conference is set to take place in Bonn, Germany next year.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh, Morocco, has been gaveled out with the approval of a work plan to combat climate change. The parties have agreed to meet again in 2017 to “review progress.” Around midnight on Friday, nearly 200 nations agreed to work on a rule book for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate ... Read More »

Paris accord on climate change comes into effect

The historic climate deal signed in Paris last December has come into force after 94 countries ratified the agreement last month. The United Nations warns that huge emissions cuts are now needed to meet the global goals. United Nations climate chiefs said humanity would look back on Friday as the day the world "shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future." In a joint statement released on Friday, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Salaheddine Mezouar, president of the upcoming COP 22 climate talks in Morocco, said the Paris agreement would help to "overcome the existential threat of unchecked climate change." "Its early entry into force is a clear political signal that all the nations of the world are devoted to decisive global action on climate change," they said. Fifteen years to act Espinosa, along with Mezouar - who is also Morocco's foreign minister - warned that the world community would need to come together within the next 15 years to ensure "unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and unequalled efforts to build societies that can resist rising climate impacts." They warned that emissions are not yet falling, with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels breaking new records in 2016. Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere passed a critical and symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million last year, the UN said. By 2030, emissions are expected to reach 54-56 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, far above the level of 42 billion tonnes needed to have a chance of meet one of the key components of the Paris accord - limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century. Will targets be met? Even if all pledges linked to the Paris accord to cut emissions are kept, the planet will heat up some 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by century's end, a recipe for climate devastation, according to a UN Environment Program report released on Thursday. But environment chiefs have welcomed the news that the roll-out of renewable energy has surged faster than most predictions a decade ago, now accounting for 23 percent of energy production. Renewable technologies have become cheaper than previously estimated, attracting $300 billion (260 billion euros) in investment in 2015. More than 190 states signed the landmark deal, agreed in the French capital last December. To date, 94 nations have either ratified or acceded to the agreement. New climate talks Next week, diplomats from 196 nations will gather in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh for the COP22 climate talks to draw up a "rule book" on how to proceed next. Among the questions will be how to best disburse $100 billion (90 billion euros) a year to poor, climate-vulnerable nations. While the conference takes place, American voters will decide their next president, with many of the 15,000 COP22 attendees watching intently to see if Republican nominee Donald Trump - who has publicly denied climate change is taking place - makes it to the White House.

The historic climate deal signed in Paris last December has come into force after 94 countries ratified the agreement last month. The United Nations warns that huge emissions cuts are now needed to meet the global goals. United Nations climate chiefs said humanity would look back on Friday as the day the world “shut the door on inevitable climate disaster ... Read More »

Supreme Court halts Obama’s plan to limit carbon emissions

The US' top court has ruled to block enforcement of a plan to limit carbon emissions form power plants. The move effectively stalls Obama's strategy to combat climate change. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to block the Clean Power Plan, the main component of the Obama Administration's proposal to limit climate change. In a 5-4 vote, judges sided with a coalition of 27 mainly Republican-dominated states who have been highly critical of the plan, which would force power plants to curb carbon dioxide emissions. The ruling comes as a surprise, as last month a federal appeals court decided not to put the plan on hold. According to the judges, the plan will be halted until a final decision on the legality of it is reached. Fierce opposition Among the states that led the anti-Clean Power Plan coalition were coal producer West Virginia and oil producer Texas. Along with several companies, the states launched a legal challenge to the plan in October. More than a dozen other states have argued in favor of the plan, and the regulations which were issued last summer by the Environmental Protection Agency were a key component of Obama's efforts to reduce overal US greenhouse gas emissions. The court will make the final decision on the plan's legality on June 2.

The US’ top court has ruled to block enforcement of a plan to limit carbon emissions form power plants. The move effectively stalls Obama’s strategy to combat climate change. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to block the Clean Power Plan, the main component of the Obama Administration’s proposal to limit climate change. In a 5-4 vote, judges sided with ... Read More »

World leaders hail Paris climate pact

Envoys from 195 nations have approved a historic accord in Paris to slow global warming. Climate experts say implementation will be next challenge. The accord agreed Saturday sets a target of limiting warming of the planet to "well below" 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with the Industrial Revolution. World leaders say the Paris agreement is the most ambitious since the climate initiaitve began in 1992. German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the deal as a sign of hope. "With today's adoption of the climate agreement the global community has for the first time committed itself to the fight against global climate change," Merkel said in Berlin. "Paris will always be connected with this historic turning point in climate policy." US President Barack Obama called the agreement "historic" and said it represented a pragmatic chance at reversing centuries of damage. "This agreement represents the best chance we have to save the one planet that we've got," Obama said. The agreement sets an ultimate target of keeping global average temperatures within 1.5 Celsius within pre-Industrial Revolution levels. Green groups said they hope this would lead to the planet turning away from its reliance on fossil fuels and continued momentum to tackle climate change. "This deal alone won't dig us out the hole we're in, but it makes the sides less steep," Greenpeace International chief Kumi Naidoo said. Retooling energy production from dirty coal, oil and gas to renewable like solar and wind will require investment. At issue was who would pay for it. Richer countries have agreed to muster at least $100 billion (92 billion euros) a year from 2020 to help developing nations. The fine print - implementation But even as world leaders delivered glowing platitudes and backslapping, climate scientists say that, even if the pledges are fully honored, earth will still likely be on track for temperatures exceeding safe limits. "The diplomats have done their job: the Paris Agreement points the world in the right direction, and with sophistication and clarity," said Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. "It does not, however, ensure implementation, which necessarily remains the domain of politicians, businessmen, scientists, engineers, and civil society." That view was echoed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as he weighed the prospects for the planet to reach the 1.5 degree Celsius target. "It will be up to business, consumers, citizens and particularly investors to finish the job," Schellnhuber said. That will mean real political will to phase out fossil fuels. That's because climate models suggest the world will have to all but stop polluting with greenhouse gases by 2070 to reach the 2-degree goal, or by 2050 to reach the 1.5-degree goal. "It means that in the end, you have to phase out carbon dioxide," Schellnhube said.

Envoys from 195 nations have approved a historic accord in Paris to slow global warming. Climate experts say implementation will be next challenge. The accord agreed Saturday sets a target of limiting warming of the planet to “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with the Industrial Revolution. World leaders say the Paris agreement is the most ambitious since ... Read More »

Paris climate summit close to finish line

Racing to strike an accord, negotiators at the Paris climate conference have embarked on yet another night of talks. A strict timetable has been set by the French foreign minister, Andrea Rönsberg reports from Paris. "We can now move to a decisive step," a rather pale and tired-looking Laurent Fabius told negotiators minutes before they were handed a new third draft for the global climate agreement being negotiated. He said there had been progress and that he was hoping there would be more so that a final text could be presented on Friday, officially the conference's last day. "There are only a few open questions which remain," said Christoph Bals of NGO Germanwatch. "What's key now is that countries don't start to unravel compromises that have already been made." A strong signal? Observers were split on how strong the text is on signaling investors to get out of fossil fuels. Notably, the term "decarbonisation" that was present in an earlier draft, and that had been endorsed by leaders of the seven biggest economies (G7) at their June summit in Elmau, Germany, is now lacking. Instead, the new draft for the climate agreement refers to the goal of achieving "greenhouse gas emission neutrality in the second half of the century." "The word 'decarbonisation' is not there, but in terms of timing, this text is similiar to what the G7 agreed on in Elmau," said Bals, adding that he thought that was positive. But Jan Kowalzig of development organization Oxfam disagrees. "This is not the signal we need to increase pressure on investors to get out of oil, coal, and gas," he said. Good news for developing countries Kowalzig said the new draft was an improvement in terms of what is referred to as 'climate finance.' "The new text is phrased in a way that signals a certain predictability that financial support to developing countries will increase over time" Kowalzig told DW. "If there are no further changes to this wording, that would be a success," he said. At the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, industrialized countries had committed to coming up with $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing nations in adapting to climate change, and investing in renewable energy technology. But developing nations have been critical that there are no clear pathways or assigned responsibilites to ensure industrialized countries make good on that promise, and have been calling for more credibility regarding any further pledges on finance for the time period starting in 2020. Strict rules Negotiators are to work on the new draft overnight within a strict framework pronounced by a conference chief who seemed very determined. During nightly meetings, Fabius said, only statements "directed at finding solutions" would be allowed. If solutions could not be found immediately, small groups should gather around an appointed mitigator in the corner of negotiating rooms and find compromises "within 30 to 45 minutes." So far, observers and negotiators alike have expressed appreciation for the way the the French foreign minister and his team have conducted the process. Steering negotiations, the French way Fabius thus far has avoided getting bogged down in procedural questions and focused on conducting negotiations in smaller, more effective, circles without causing any party to feel excluded. "Fabius is doing an excellent job," said German environment minister Barbara Hendricks. WWF's Regine Günther agreed. "The French have so far done a very good job," he said. "They have stuck to the schedule to a degree we have not seen at any other climate conference." "But the question is how far they'll go to reach compromise within the schedule they have set for themselves," Günther said. Plenary, pause, and party? If things continued to go according to the French plan, Fabius would call a plenary session some time on Friday to conclude the agreement, a UN official said. There would then be a short pause - "and then a party." Yet before any possible party, long hours of negotiations lie ahead. "We are extremely close to the finishing line," Fabius said. But it is the finishing line of a marathon race, not that of a sprint. And so, the finish line may still be kilometers away, rather than meters.

Racing to strike an accord, negotiators at the Paris climate conference have embarked on yet another night of talks. A strict timetable has been set by the French foreign minister, Andrea Rönsberg reports from Paris. “We can now move to a decisive step,” a rather pale and tired-looking Laurent Fabius told negotiators minutes before they were handed a new third ... Read More »

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