Universal climate rescue pact nears finish line

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LE BOURGET, France: Envoys from 195 nations will aim to finally seal a Paris pact on Saturday uniting the world in the struggle to stop global warming, which threatens mankind but requires an energy revolution.

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The hoped-for deal would end nearly a fortnight of grueling UN talks hosted by France that have sought to end decades-long rows between rich and poor nations over how to fund the multi-trillion-dollar fight.

With 2015 forecast to be the hottest year on record, world leaders and scientists have warned the accord is vital to cap rising temperatures and avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate changes.Climate20151213French President Francois Hollande was due to arrive at the conference venue on Saturday morning for the unveiling of a planned final version of an accord that has been drafted and re-drafted multiple times during the talks.

“Everything is in place to achieve a universal, ambitious accord,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is presiding over the talks that turned into all-night negotiations in the final days, said on Friday.

“Never again will we have a more favorable momentum than in Paris.”

The scheduled presentation of the draft at 11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT) comes after negotiators missed an initial deadline of Friday to sign an accord, as feuding ministers refused to budge on entrenched positions.

The hoped-for final blueprint, prepared after further through-the-night negotiations, will launch a fresh and hopefully final burst of frenetic diplomacy.

Fabius has said he will give negotiators a few hours to review it before returning as a group and hopefully endorsing it.

Enduring money battles
Developed and developing nations have failed for decades to sign an effective universal pact to tame global warming because of divisions over how much responsibility each side should take and how much they should pay.

At the heart of any deal is cutting back or eliminating the use of coal, oil and gas for energy, which has largely powered nations’ paths towards prosperity since the Industrial Revolution began in the 1700s.

The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, which cause the planet to warm and change Earth’s delicate climate system.

If climate change goes unabated, scientists warn of increasingly severe droughts, floods and storms, as well as rising seas that would engulf islands and populated coasts.

“Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet,” the preface to the draft accord says.

Developing nations have insisted rich countries must shoulder the lion’s share of responsibility for tackling climate change as they have emitted most of the greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.

But the United States and other rich nations say emerging giants must also do more.

AFP

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