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Comment: Progress Of UN Climate Talks In Paris – Lord Nicholas Stern, Michael Jacobs & Edward Cameron



A day later than expected negotiators at the Paris summit are hoping to wrap up a global agreement to curb climate change this Saturday. Statements below follow a press conference held earlier today in Paris, at the Le Bourget venue where the talks are taking place.

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics:“In many ways this summit has already been a success with more than 180 countries having submitted pledges for action. Over 150 world leaders participated in the opening of the summit and announced a range of initiatives such as Mission Innovation. There has been good will and a spirit throughout these two weeks of negotiation. All these are signs of success.

“There has been good progress on agreeing the text of the new agreement. For instance, the current draft contains only about 50 bracketed words or sections, whereas the previous draft had about 350. It’s not over yet. It’s a critical last 24 hours or so, but at the moment it looks rather promising.

“At present, the text of the agreement contains lots of things that are of real value. I think Paris, with fingers crossed for the next twenty four hours, could be a real turning point. Then of course the question is how do we accelerate from here, be it on innovation, finance, creativity, investment and so on.”

Michael Jacobs, Senior Adviser, the New Climate Economy project: “The timetable has slipped from what was, as everybody knows, a very ambitious intention to finish on time. But what is really important is that there is enough time to gain all parties’ consent.

“This is an agreement that has to be achieved by consensus of all the parties. So it is not a surprise at all that they are going to ensure they have the time to get that consensus. I don’t read anything into this extra delay. Those of us who took bets on the final outcome, very few people had 6pm on Friday. You could get pretty good odds on it last week from climate aficionados.

“The other thing we need to remember is that this is not the finished text and therefore we shouldn’t be commenting on it as if it is. There is a lot of negotiation to do and it is not over until it is over.”

Edward Cameron, Managing Director, Business for Social Responsibility, Policy Lead, We Mean Business: “We’re seeing the core building blocks of a new economy coming from this process. Business has come here in unprecedented numbers, to demonstrate their own commitment to acting on climate, and to work with governments to create a truly catalytic instrument for the real economy.

“To make that a reality, we were looking for a number of components. First of all, we were looking for genuine ambition. I think we see that not only in the new text, but in the more than one hundred and eighty national climate action plans that countries tabled coming into Paris. We also see ambition happening as a consequence of movement on climate finance. This is not just about mobilising $100 billion per year, but is about creating a leverage mechanism to bring private finance into this equation so that we get to trillions and not just billions.

“We are not there yet – there are many, many points of divergence that need to be resolved over the next 36 hours. What I would say, however, is that countries have already shown tremendous courage coming into this COP. Many of them are breaking long-standing political taboos, many of them have taken on a leadership role that would have been frankly impossible a number of years ago. What we want to see is for that courage to hold over the next twenty four to thirty six hours.”