What To Expect At COP21 This Week

The negotiations at COP21 in Paris are halfway over, and the world will have a new universal climate agreement by the end of the week. But just how vigorous those commitments will be remains to be seen.

After whittling down a four-years-in-the-making draft agreement to 48 pages last week, negotiators will spend the remaining days of the conference compromising on a final agreement to be signed by more than 190 parties.

“A week ago, 150 world leaders stood here and pledged their full support for a robust global climate agreement that is equal to the test we face,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “Never before have so many Heads of State and Government gathered in one place at one time with one common purpose.”

Negotiations are expected to conclude Wednesday and the agreement be adopted on Thursday and Friday, though the formal signing ceremony won’t happen until early 2016.

The current draft contains more than 900 square brackets, which are used to identify disagreements, the BBC noted.

“We have a new universally accepted basis for negotiations. Now we need to write the next,” French negotiator Laurence Taubiana said Sunday. “The work is not complete, and major political issues need to be decided on. We will need all our energy, intelligence, capacity for compromise, and ability to think long-term if we are to achieve our result.”

One of the biggest points of contention in the draft is whether negotiators should update the oft-cited 2 degrees Celsius threshold — the maximum amount of warming by 2100 that the planet can take before climate conditions are permanently altered — to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Last week, both France and Germany joined 43 other nations —> Read More