Ministers to discuss ‘landing zones’ ahead of Paris climate summit

France asks governments to deliver ‘proposals for common ground on key political issues’ as clock ticks down to start of negotiations

(Pic: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)

(Pic: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)

By Ed King

The French government hopes to identify ‘landing zones’ on four critical issues holding up talks on a global climate deal at a meeting of over 70 ministers scheduled for this weekend.

The first, outlined in a background document sent to governments on Wednesday, is the vexed question of how to represent the roles of developed and developing countries in a potential agreement.

Other items include proposals for ratcheting up greenhouse gas emission cuts every five years, the potential for a global ‘stocktake’ on progress pre-2020 and the levels of climate finance on offer.

“The purpose of this pre-COP is not to negotiate the ADP [Paris climate deal] text… but rather to provide the necessary political guidance to the ADP negotiating process, and to come up with proposals for common ground on some of the key political issues that remain open,” says the note, seen by Climate Home.

Contentious topics such as how vulnerable countries will be compensated for irreversible climate impacts, known as loss and damage, will also be discussed in an opening session of the 2-day ministerial meeting.

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A recent round of negotiations in Bonn ended with the number of proposals for a deal expanding amid widespread anger from poorer nations over the lack of clarity over long term flows of climate finance.

France’s chief climate diplomat Lawrence Tubiana said the 55-page draft negotiating text was “manageable” but told reporters the Paris pre-COP meeting would be important to smooth the road towards a deal.

A source close to the French government told Climate Home the goal of the meeting was to identify areas of compromise that could be taken to the main UN summit in Paris at the end of this month.

Pre-COP – Background Document

“The role of this ministerial is to inform what could be the landing zones,” the source said. “It’s not to write a text or to draft a text, it would be counterproductive compared to the formal process.

“But it’s okay to say: having listened 70 ministers being representative for the main balances in the world, I have a feeling this is the compromise, the landing zone with one or two options remaining.”

Despite fierce verbal exchanges inside the UN negotiations, there appears to be progress between leading developed and developing country blocs.

This week China and France announced agreement over certain elements of a new deal, notably a joint commitment to regular 5-year reviews of global progress.

The EU and Brazil also agree on regular reviews and language surrounding differentiation that could be used in a Paris deal, climate chief Miguel Arias Canete said in a visit to Rio de Janeiro.

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