As it happened: Paris COP21 climate talks run into overtime

Paris summit will spill into overtime as COP president Laurent Fabius reveals he will deliver the final draft on Saturday morning 

During the final days of the negotiations, delegates huddle in the corridors before receiving the revised draft Paris outcome

During the final days of the negotiations, delegates huddle in the corridors before receiving the revised draft Paris outcome (credit: Kiara Worth/IISD)

Updates from Alex PashleyMegan Darby and Ed King in Paris – all times CET


1917 – I’m Megan Darby, wrapping up for now. The proposed end time of this summit has been and gone, but there is hope for reaching agreement. It has been another day of backroom meetings and briefings galore, ahead of the next (and possibly final) version of a Paris deal at 9am tomorrow.

The provisional schedule, passed to Climate Home, is for the text to go for legal checks at 2am, translation at 4am and ministers to adopt the pact at a 2pm meeting.

That all depends on overcoming the final hurdles. A “high ambition coalition” has gathered steam with Brazil joining on Friday, but can it come to a settlement with China and India both sides see as fair?

US secretary of state John Kerry says: “I think some of us have been working quietly behind the scenes to work out compromises ahead of time on some of those issues. And so tomorrow will be really a reflection of many of those compromises surfacing. And hopefully, there’s a consensus and a strong feeling that the best that you can do with such a vast group of nations, 186 people, has been arrived at in a fair manner.”


We’ll be firing up the live blog bright and early, covering all the news and analysis in the final stages of COP21. Join us again.

1903 – Liu Zhenmin, deputy  head of the Chinese delegation and vice minister of the ministry of foreign affairs of China has just given a press conference. He is bullish on a “transparency” mechanism – the monitoring and verification of emissions. China cannot accept other countries poking around, he says.

On the framing of a long term goal, China favours “low carbon development” over the phrase “greenhouse gas emissions neutrality” – currently in the text.

Asked about news that Brazil has joined a so-called ‘high ambition coalition’ he laughs. China is ambitious too, he says.

1858 – When you thought COP couldn’t get any zanier, along comes a fanpage for Laurent Fabius.

The Fabius u is Fab Tumblr shows a selection of the “silver-haired and silver-tongued” French foreign minister’s best bits. He’s the president of these talks, who’s hoping to bask in the glow of a new deal this weekend.

Is it one of his staffers running the account, or some bleary-eyed cynical think tanker? We’re on the hunt.


1854 – Fossil of the Day – an award for the most obstructive player at COP21 – goes to the Umbrella Group and EU: essentially all developed countries. They haven’t been pulling their weight on pre-2020 emissions cuts, NGOs say.

It being officially the last day of talks, there is also a “colossal fossil”, which goes to Saudi Arabia. We reported on it blocking human rights languagequashing a scientific report on the dangers of 2C and defending its target-free climate plan.

1834 – Sandra Guzmán who leads the Latin American Climate Finance Group (GFLAC, in Spanish) says the current finance text in article 2 of the agreement regarding its purpose must survive tonight before the next draft is presented.

The Mexican PhD student at the University of York says: “Countries have to defend the language currently in the heart of the agreement in article 2 which states ‘make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards such low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development’.

“This language can send a strong message to policymakers, planners and investors that funds must shift towards building a low carbon future.”

1757 – #HighAmbitionCoalition has a hashtag on twitter and Carbon Brief’s Sophie Yeo even wrote a poem about it.

China is still not sold:

1740 – It’s official: Brazil is part of the high ambition gang, splitting from the rest of the BASIC bloc: China, India and South Africa.

“If you want to tackle climate change you need ambition and political will,” said environment minister Izabella Teixeira, in a statement read out by coalition chair Tony de Brum. Read the full story here.

(Pic: Senado Federal/Flickr)

(Pic: Senado Federal/Flickr)

1715 – Asian activists are flagging their discontent with latest deal, which they complain is rigged towards the rich.

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development, says: “The biggest fight is still about differentiation, or who does what. Unfortunately, developed countries like the US and European Union members not only continue to shirk from their responsibility in leading the fight against climate catastrophe, they are passing off more of the blame and the responsibility to developing countries.”

Fishworkers representative Magline Peter, whose travel to Paris was delayed by Chennai floods, adds: “The US and its allies are preventing do not want to pay for loss and damages which countries like mine are already experiencing, whether through rising sea levels or freak floods, like the latest in Chennai. It is absurd to see these developed countries continue to blame India for blocking a fair and just climate agreement.”

1614 – Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar has just given a press conference – it was in Hindi but our reporter Avik Roy was on hand and has relayed the latest to us.

Javadekar said the success of a Paris deal hangs in the balance. “It will depend on the effort of the developed nations and not just the developing countries. It cannot be a one-sided second draft. India needs a system where developed countries will adopt more responsibilities and leave space for developing countries to grow.”

Deliberations are still going on, he said. If richer nations like the US and EU-28 do not back down there could be a “long road ahead”.

Key issues are flexibility and differentiation. He met US secretary of state John Kerry this morning (it’s his birthday) and they exchanged “pleasantries”. The pair agreed to “move forward”. There are more planned bilaterals today, with China, the Marshall Islands, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and COP president Laurent Fabius.

Prakash Javadekar with prime minister Narendra Modi at the India pavilion (Pic: Avik Roy)

Prakash Javadekar with prime minister Narendra Modi at the India pavilion (Pic: Avik Roy)

1539 – Climate campaigners have unveiled a long red banner stretching along the strip known as the ‘Champs Elysees’ of the Le Bourget conference site. It represents – they say – the line negotiators cannot cross… among others a 1.5C warming threshold.

1455 – While we can only speculate on what is happening on the Paris text, ministers are keen to be seen as constructive players.

Brazil’s Izabella Teixeira will “probably” join the so-called “high ambition coalition”, she told Climatewire’s Lisa Friedman.

That is significant, coming from a major emerging economy. It signals a willingness to move away from the binary developed/developing split to a more nuanced reflection of countries’ wealth and capacity.

Asked if this meant the BASIC grouping was falling apart, Indian civil society pointed out its four members were at different development stages. China has five times the greenhouse gas emissions per person as India, notes Action Aid’s Harjeet Singh.

“India is not completely against dynamic differentiation, but given their development space, they would not like to spend a lot of political capital on that.”

1436 – Activists gather outside entrance to main COP venue as talks enter critical phase.

They chanted: “We want freedom – all your oil, gas, and coal we don’t need ’em.”

1431 – Calls for ‘compensation and liability’ for victims of climate impacts will go back into the text of a global treaty, according to Tuvalu envoy Ian Fry.

Speaking to Climate Home on Friday morning after talks ran until 6am, Fry said this contentious issue was still live.

1345 – Clearer reports are emerging of what was a stormy set of talks late on Thursday night into Friday morning in Paris.

Climate Home has been passed a transcript of discussions that took place a meeting known at UN talks as an ‘Indaba’, chaired by COP president Laurent Fabius.

Below we outline some of the key positions from countries relating to new proposals:

References to voluntary ‘south south’ finance should be deleted
Not happy with concept of ‘climate neutrality’ (3.1)
Wants to see ‘global review’ (3.8) deleted
References to a ‘shared effort by all parties (6.2) in the finance section seek to “shift responsibilities” and must be deleted

Peaking of parties GHG emissions not acceptable, it should say ‘global emissions’ (3.1)
Five year review cycles are “a matter of choice”
Not happy with finance section… words developed should help “facilitating the mobilisation” of $ are not acceptable, it should just say ‘mobilise’
Finance and support should be scaled up

The document is already a ‘monument to differentiation’, all INDCs are different and no two are the same
Kyoto failed because it tried a one-size fits all, this is a new approach
This is *all* voluntary
Support 5 year cycles
Language in decisions text on mitigation needs to be stronger (change from invites to shall)
Support a long term goal and neutrality in the second half of the century

Saudi Arabia
Article 3.1, relating to a long term goal is “far away from consensus”
“We wish we can be as optimistic as our co chairs”

This is a “critical step back” compared to yesterday

We agree with the US, we are moving to differentiation
Progress on finance has been “very good”

There is already a mechanism to deal with human rights – so why do we need this here?

We’re small island… this is a matter of survival – as is 1.5C

1.5C to stay alive… we and AOSIS won’t accept anything less

Human rights are not optional

This is an ambitious outcome with stronger language
But we’re unhappy with ‘invites’ in the mitigation aspect of the ‘decisions’ text, esp para 22, 23, 24. These must be replaced by ‘shall’
Aviation and shipping emissions are missing

With out 1.5C our dreams will disappear, our beaches will be washed away

We have been pragmatic and this text has high ambition
I accept the historical responsibility of developed countries but it cannot be endless

1300 – A new text will be ready on Saturday morning at 9am

1240 – We’re down to the nitty gritty of textual talks now, where lawyers earn their wages. Top State Department advisor Sue Biniaz is rarely seen apart from Todd Stern… (or John Kerry – below)

…she’s the brains behind formulations such as “In light of different national circumstances,” a phrase used to keep last year’s Lima climate summit on the rails, when the conflicting demands of rich, poor and emerging economies threatened to throw the talks into disarray.

Megan Darby spoke to her earlier this year – here’s the full interview.

1215 – Our reporter Avik Roy says security around the COP venue has tightened considerably in the past hour, perhaps in anticipation of more protests?

“Armed French commandos have been frisking delegates randomly near the entrance to the Blue Zone, something unprecedented and not seen even when heads of state flew in on the opening day. Once inside, the security queue seemed longer than usual. I saw at least two people being asked to take out their cameras from their bag and turn it on. The man scanning our badge before we could enter through the gates asked a girl in front of me to remove her hat.”

1125 – Activists plan to form 2km ‘red line’ along Paris avenue, defying protest ban As climate talks approach the endgame, campaigners will ignore a ban on public protests as they plan a mobilisation with umbrellas and fog horns on Saturday from Paris’ emblematic Arc de Triomphe.

The grave of the unknown soldier, groups will use this place to commemorate past and future victims of climate change and reiterate their fight for climate justice. According to an emailed statement by groups including, Attac and Climate Games: “Thousands will stand along the Avenue to draw a red line with their bodies, signifying our commitment to defend our common homes.

“The line will point towards the real perpetrators of climate crimes in La Défense, where the headquarters of major fossil fuel companies and their financial backers can be found. “The action will be a reminder that there is no complete triumph in the battle against climate change–too much has already been lost–but that any progress will be led by the people, not our politicians.”

30 fog horns, a Samba and brass band and two 100m long banners are expected. Activists will observe a 2-minute silence for the ‘victims of climate crimes’. Here’s the view of Paris’ financial district from the Arc de Triomphe:

(Flickr/ Joe Price)

(Flickr/ Joe Price)

1028 – Good morning. I’m Alex Pashley. Negotiators turned in last night around 6am so expect a slower start on a wintry Friday in the French capital. Fraught negotiations have made the French push back their deadline from today at 6pm until the following day. Yet we are on the home stretch.

COP president Laurent Fabius will reveal a final draft agreement text on Saturday morning.

A new version circulated on Thursday evening was well received by *some* veteran observers of the talks. Brackets have been slashed from 1,609 to 361 on Wednesday to 50 last night, reports the Guardian, citing analysis by

Yet, as is the norm in these talks, it’s not perfect.

Here is some reaction: Neil Thorns of catholic aid agency CAFOD: “At this stage the deal being proposed doesn’t match the rhetoric we heard from world leaders last week, but we still believe parties have it in them to work for the common good. They have 24 hours left to stand up and be counted, and deliver a deal that sets the world on a pathway to increased ambition, enabling us to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and deal with the increasing climate impacts we are going to see.”

Jennifer Morgan, World Resources Institute: “All countries have to be ready to do the maximum they can to get a truly ambitious and fair agreement in Paris. This is a gut check moment. Negotiators must be ready to go further than ever before to enter into a new form of international cooperation.”

Adriano Campolina, action aid Africa’s chief executive: “In the closing hours of Paris talks we have been presented with a draft deal that denies the world justice. By including a clause for no future claim of compensation and liability, the US has ensured people suffering from the disastrous impacts of climate change will never be able to seek the justice owed to them. This unfair and unjust draft deal won’t face up to the realities of climate change and will only serve to widen the chasm between rich and poor.”

Read more on: COP21 | UN climate talks