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Mar. 10, 2015 - Updated 04:16 UTC

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Fabius: Agreement by Saturday

Dec. 11, 2015

Delegates in Paris are scrambling to reach a framework agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. As the deadline approached, NHK World spoke exclusively with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

He expressed his confidence that an agreement will be reached soon, and that it will likely happen on Saturday.

Fabius was speaking after another night of tough negotiations on the wording of the final agreement:

"The atmosphere is positive. Things are moving forward. Now I have to consult with different groups. Therefore I'll make my proposal on Saturday morning and the decision will be taken on Saturday at noon," he said

The statement represented the first time for Fabius to publicly state that an agreement is about to be reached by all member parties.

What he told NHK World is that the international community is entering a new era where every nation recognizes the need to tackle global warming, and for the first time ever, all countries, whether rich or poor, participate in a framework to reduce carbon emissions.

The latest version of the draft no longer contains legally binding emission targets for each nation.

Instead, it obliges every country to review both the targets, and the measures to achieve them, every five years.

The draft also calls on all countries to pursue efforts to limit the global average temperature increase. It seeks to keep it no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A major topic of disagreement is financial support to help developing countries cut emissions without compromising their economic growth. The draft agreement proposes an increase in support from developed nations, up from the current pledge of 100 billion dollars annually.

But developed countries are thought to be against the draft if it stipulates that they provide additional support to developing countries.


Masako Konishi, a climate energy project leader for World Wide Fund for Nature Japan spoke with NEWSROOM TOKYO anchor Sho Beppu.

Beppu: Masako, how’s the mood in the meeting there?

Konishi: We are all really sleep-deprived since Sunday. The negotiation has been going on around the clock for five days... but I believe that the management of the COP president is very well-organized and we are really trusting him to manage to the end, so there is a really good atmosphere.

Beppu: French government officials proposed a draft in which all the countries are supposed to submit targets every five years, but they are not required to achieve them -- what do you think of this point?

Konishi: Well, this was discussed already, two or three years back. It’s for the US, so we all want the US on board. In order to do so, we needed to have a legally binding agreement, but not be legally bound to achieve the target. Instead, we do have this five-year review system, which can ensure the compliance of the target instead. It’s not a bad outcome.

Beppu: What’s your take on financial aid for developing nations?

Konishi: Well, finance is always a really sticky issue. And not only finance, but also mitigation, adoption and loss and damage -- all are really sticky with differentiation. Differentiation -- how to differentiate the poor and rich nations and then try to come up with a new differentiation between all parties -- is always a sticking point. This is really a sticking point since 1990 and we never crossed this bridge, so we are going to see a historical turning point, where there is a new way to bridge the gap between these developed and developing countries.

Beppu: Can I understand that you have a very positive stance vis a vis this draft?

Konishi: Well, I hope so -- the text that we saw yesterday was really not a bad one. But we are hearing a lot of noises and rejections and concerns coming out of countries towards this text. So, before finalizing the text there will be a lot of negotiations still, but it will be a good starting point, so we hope to get as strong and binding an agreement as possible tomorrow so that we can have a good starting point to counter global climate change.