NEW DELHI: The world Saturday agreed to a new climate agreement, to be implemented from 2020, with 196 countries adopting Paris agreement to save the planet from global warming with both developed and developing world agreeing to cut emissions to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The 31-page draft was adopted after correction of a typo in Article 4.4 of the draft which was reportedly raised by the US. It reduced responsibility on part of developed world to take absolute emissions cut by replacing “shall” take measures to should take measures.
The article 4.4 in draft text had read that, “Developed country parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets” but reportedly “shall” was not acceptable. In plenary session, “shall” was termed as a typo and changed to “should” which was viewed as a clear dilution of the particular Article by many.
While the negotiators were celebrating the new climate deal with huge applause, countries like Nicaragua who said it cannot support the agreement as it fails to address many issues important to them.
The draft was adopted by delegates soon after correction of this particular typo and several other errors amidst .a huge applause from all participants.
The final agreement watered down obligations on part of developed nations when it comes to providing finance to poor countries to take measures to meet challenge posed by climate change and taking liability for any loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
Earlier, French President Francois Hollande called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the latest status of negotiations after release of draft.
Releasing the final draft, earlier in the day, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that it is fair, durable and legally binding and would aim at limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and try for an even more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
India also welcomed the deal as balanced and said its concerns have been taken care of in the document. However, civil society groups criticised it saying it falls short of a fair deal and biggest historical polluters have been put off the hook.
The document does talk about developed nations providing USD 100 billion per year from 2020 to developing nations but that is not binding and there is no clarity on how much finance will be delivered, when it will be delivered by, or how much of it will be available for adaptation.
On another contentious issue of liability for any loss and damage, there seems to be a trade off with the US as the loss and damage part is mentioned in the text with rider that it does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation. US has been demanding non inclusion of liability class in the final agreement.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that there has been mention of Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) under all heads in the final text but NGOs said that there is a weakening of stand.
"After the first glace of the final text, we are happy that the text contains and take care of concerns of India. It is linked with the convention (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) while CBDR is imbibed in it," Javadekar said.
Dr Prodipto Ghosh, India’s former negotiator at UN climate talks, opined otherwise.
“The draft agreement further weakens differentiation between developed and developing countries. The absence of any target for financial resources to developing countries is disappointing. Sustainable consumption and production is mentioned in the Preamble but not in the operative part. No provision for cooperative R&D of technology or compulsory licensing,” said Ghosh.
The agreement talks about first stock taking exercise n 2018 and countries which have submitted targets under INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) for 2025 have been asked to come back in 2020 with a new target and those with 2030 targets are invited to communicate or update them. And stocktaking will be repeated every five years.
This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.