Police, protesters clash in Paris before climate conference

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Key sticking points in UN climate talks.

That’s a huge step forward for the U.N. climate talks but a host of difficult issues remain to be resolved before a new climate agreement can be adopted in Paris. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a working dinner with France’s President Francois Hollande, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015.

More than 140 world leaders are gathering in Paris for high-stakes climate talks that start Monday, and activists are holding marches and protests around the world to urge them to reach a strong agreement to slow global warming. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) The previous climate treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, divided the world into developed and developing countries and only required the former to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S., the European Union and other developed countries say this time all countries must chip in and that the rich-poor firewall is outdated anyway since it classifies countries like Qatar, the wealthiest country on Earth per capita, as developing. Even though almost all countries are in practice moving into a new era by presenting their own emissions pledges, India and many others want the Paris agreement to state clearly that the developed countries have a bigger responsibility to fight global warming. The U.S. has a problem with that because an international treaty imposing emissions limits on the U.S. isn’t likely to be approved by the Republican-controlled Congress. The current draft of the agreement contains multiple options, including “decarbonization of the global economy” or achieving “climate neutrality” or “net zero emissions” by 2050 or later.

Small island nations who are particularly vulnerable to climate change say there needs to be a mechanism in a Paris agreement that deals with climate impacts that they cannot fully adapt to, such as rising seas and more devastating storms. This issue, called loss and damage, makes the U.S. and other wealthy countries uncomfortable because they worry it’s going to pave the way for claims of compensation and liability from countries ravaged by climate-related disasters.

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