NEW DELHI: The world on Saturday agreed to a new climate agreement, to be implemented from 2020, with 196 countries adopting the Paris pact to save the planet from global warming with both developed and developing countries agreeing to cut emissions to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees
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 the part of the developed world to take absolute emission cut by replacing “shall” take measures with “should” take measures.
The article in the draft text had read: “Developed country parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets” but reportedly “shall” was not acceptable. In the 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, countries like Nicaragua said they cannot support the agreement as it fails to address many issues critical to them.
The draft was adopted by delegates soon after correction of the particular typo and several other errors amidst a huge round of applause from all participants.
The final agreement watered down obligations on the part of developed nations on providing funds to poor countries to take measures to meet the challenges posed by climate change and taking liability for any loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
French President Francois Hollande called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the latest status of negotiations after the release of the draft. Earlier in the day, releasing the final draft, 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 addressed in the document. However, civil society groups criticised it saying it falls short of a fair deal and the biggest historical polluters have been let off the hook. The document does talk about developed nations providing $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, or how much of it will be available for adaptation.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said there has been mention of Common But Differentiated Responsibility under all heads in the final text but NGOs said there was a weakening of stand.