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The Aletsch Glacier is pictured from the Eggishorn summit in Fiesch, Switzerland, August 22, 2015. One of Europe's biggest glaciers, the Great Aletsch coils 23 km (14 miles) through the Swiss Alps - and yet this mighty river of ice could almost vanish in the lifetimes of people born today because of climate change. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

As U.N. climate deal looms, pressure on nations to ditch demands

WT24 Desk

OSLO – A draft agreement that ditches cherished ideas of almost 200 nations about how to fight climate change could spark “fireworks” at a final round of negotiations to design a U.N. agreement to be held in Paris in December, Reuters reports.

With time running out, the 20-page draft produced by two top diplomats who oversee the talks for discussions in Germany next week, and condensed from a previous document of more than 80 pages, leaves out many nations’ core demands.

That may cause strain at the Oct. 19-23 talks in Bonn, after negotiations that have so far been virtually free of the acrimony seen in 2009 when governments last tried, and failed, to reach a climate accord at a summit in Copenhagen.

“I certainly hope there shall be some fireworks because if everyone gets there and just sleeps through the week we would not do our work,” Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters.

Among the proposals omitted is a dollar target for aid by 2030, favored by many developed nations, or a strict mechanism for reviewing pledges, advocated by the European Union. It also leaves many options for long-term goals for cutting carbon emissions.

European Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete welcomed the new, shorter text, but said in Rabat on Tuesday: “It is not well balanced and lacks in ambition.” In Bonn, many governments may demand big additions to the proposed text.

Mohamed Adow, of the Christian Aid charity, said the draft accord did not demand enough aid provision by rich nations. “It reflects only the lowest common denominator,” he said.Figueres said there were many reasons to be confident about a deal, even though she says actions agreed in Paris will fall short of a U.N. target of limiting rising temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times.

Nations increasingly realize they have more to gain than to lose by investing in a shift away from fossil fuels that would help avert heatwaves, droughts, floods or rising sea levels, she said. In a big sign of progress, about 150 nations have outlined national plans for curbing greenhouse gases from 2020 as building blocks for the Paris accord, including top emitters China, the United States, the European Union and India.

But that does not mean nations agree. The plan by Bolivia’s left-wing government, for example, says that “for a lasting solution to the climate crisis we must destroy capitalism.”

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