Round of climate talks ends with divisions looming for Paris summit

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Questions lingered about key aspects of a draft agreement on the world’s climate, as the final scheduled round of negotiations ended Friday before a the crucial summit, which opens next month in Paris.

Countries are trying to find common ground to hammer out a global agreement that would limit world temperature increases caused by greenhouse gas emissions to 2 degrees Celsius for the foreseeable future.

A 20-page draft agreement drawn up this month was the basis for the talks, which began Monday in Bonn, Germany. But some of the articles in the draft became sticking points, giving an indication of what could become major issues during the summit, which starts on November 30.

“Political leaders need to provide the scale of support – including finance and technology – that will catalyse the just transition to a safer and renewable energy world. Additional support for poor and vulnerable countries is a critical element of a new deal,” said Tasneem Essop of non-governmental organization WWF Europe.

Developed countries have said that they would commit 100 billion dollars per year to a global climate fund by 2020, but did not come to a concrete proposal for funding after 2020. A bloc of developing countries, the Group of 77, which comprises 134 countries, said the financing commitments did not go far enough.

“The Group of 77 needs COP21 to be a success. We have no other option: For developing countries, climate change is a matter of life and death,” the bloc’s ambassador, Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, said on Twitter.

Other environmentalists said there had been too little progress on moving the draft forward.

“It is frustrating that, just five weeks before the beginning of the conference, the text is not concrete or decisive enough,” Greenpeace expert Martin Kaiser said.

But negotiators are cautious about overloading a draft agreement before the Paris talks, likely wary to repeat a mistake perceived to be partly responsible for the failure of 2009 talks in Copenhagen that were supposed to reach a binding agreement.

In Bonn, the co-chairs of the meeting expressed cautious optimism. American Daniel Reifsnyder and Algerian Ahmed Djoghlaf said it had become clear what important themes would be contained in each article. “The structure is there,” Djoghlaf said. “We are on track.”

With central questions still disputed, the chairs said they would not rule out more talks before the Paris summit.

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