Politics of Poverty

COP 21 Dispatch: Issues to watch in the final 24 hours

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The climate crisis alarm is ringing, will world leaders wake up to it before the end of COP21? Photo: Oxfam

What issues are still at play at COP21?

Most of the Oxfam team was up through the night last night analyzing the updated text and making their final rounds to negotiators before back room deals truly start to unfold. Spoiler alert: we aren’t likely to reach a deal by the official deadline at the end of the day today. I expect that by 2 or 3pm US Eastern Time tomorrow (Saturday) we will have reached a final agreement. What type of agreement we get is still up for grabs. There are a few elements in the text that are still shaky that would help poor countries and we still need to fight hard for before the gavel falls.

Here are a few of the issues still in play:

Mitigation – The text currently has some decent language to secure emissions reductions commitments from all countries into the future based on five year cycles and to increase the ambition of those commitments over time. What this means, for example, is that the U.S. would come to the table in 2020 to update our goal for the year 2025. Before 2025 we would also be expected to put our target forward for 2030. In the next 24 hours Oxfam is hoping that the current language is further strengthened to increase ambition in the near-term.

Finance – Oxfam has been pushing for language that establishes a process for countries to agree to collective finance goals post-2020, which means that we will have a clear process for building on the $100 billion commitment. This is important because just pointing to a “scale up” on finance isn’t going to drive ambition into the future. There’s also good language in there linking finance to level of mitigation ambition, which is important because the closer we get to a 3°C future (or beyond, god forbid) the more need there will be to build resilience and response capacity.

There is more, of course, lots more. Language that speaks to resourcing for communities who are at threat of losing their homes, land, and access to water because of climate change is another one that remains tense. Some positive language is in the agreement regarding further establishing a process and mechanism for these communities, but that still needs to be solidified.

Until tomorrow…

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