As climate talks build toward a climax, one man tries to keep it all from crashing down.
LE BOURGET, FRANCE — Draft three of the Paris climate document is here, but it ain’t over yet. The delegates still have plenty of sleepless hours between now and Friday night.
And they have plenty of brackets to argue over, too. Those areas of disagreement—especially in the three seemingly intractable topics of finance, differentiation, and loss and damage. For the uninitiated, that’s paying for the future, reparations for the past, and whether the countries footing those bills are long term developed places like the US, or if they should include developing countries like China. On the positive side, the draft looks like it’s finally converged on a goal: To keep the global average temperature from warming between 1.5 and 2 degrees C above historic levels.
That said, this version of the agreement is actually starting to look like an agreement. Today’s bracket-count is a solid 50, down from 361 in Wednesday’s draft. “To extent that unbracketed sections of text reflect agreement, it seems like a lot has been streamlined,” says Dan Bodansky, a legal expert on climate change at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
The fights continue, of course. Rich countries don’t want to pay the damages climate change has already done to poor countries (heat waves, drought, sea level rise, etc.) Some countries want an independent agency or body to track emissions, and the results to be transparent. Other countries say that encroaches on their sovereignty.