Final countdown: Haggling continues over draft of historic climate pact

UN negotiations resume in Geneva on Sunday to streamline the bloated draft for a climate pact that nations – still at odds over key elements – must sign in Paris in December. The six-day meeting is one of three special sessions added to this year’s schedule of talks meant to culminate in the French capital with a historic deal to curb global warming. On the table is a sprawling 37-page blueprint stuffed with options that reflect conflicting country interests and demands on many fundamental points. The goal in Geneva will be to trim the document down to a workable draft to be adopted at the close of the talks next Friday as an official “negotiating text” to guide the process through to December.

This is a critical stage. This will be the last opportunity to refine the elements that will inform the negotiation text.

Negotiator Maesela Kekana of South Africa’s foreign affairs department

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said the talks were by no means expected to deliver a polished, finalised draft, but hopefully something that reflects more common ground. The much-touted accord is set to enter into force in 2020 to further the UN goal of limiting global warming to 2ºC over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. Scientists warn that on current greenhouse gas emission trends, Earth is on track for twice the 2ºC target – a recipe for catastrophic droughts, storms, floods and rising seas.