France is pressing for tougher pledges on climate change from the Group of 20 nations ahead of the Paris climate talks starting at the end of this month.
The section on climate has emerged as the foremost sticking point in negotiations over the final wording of the G-20 communique from the summit in Turkey, according to officials representing more than one country. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are ongoing.
In a late night briefing, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said he “had found the text too weak and that it wasn’t up to what we should expect from the G-20."
The divide emerged over whether the G-20 will back a more “differentiated" approach, where developed nations carry an extra burden, or “shared" emissions responsibilities, which would require developing nations to make bigger cuts, according to the officials who asked not to be named.
“We all want a success in Paris," German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, acknowledging the impasse. “But in order to also make that clear, we will still have to do work on the communique during the night."
A reference to differentiation was removed from an early draft of the communique, though was cited in a separate statement from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called Brics developing economies.
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time," a recent draft of the communique stated. “We recognize that 2015 is a critical year that requires effective, strong and collective action on climate change and its effects."
The Brics nations called for a greater focus on emissions pledges to be “differentiated" based upon national circumstances, suggesting they favour industrialized nations doing more to limit emissions than developing ones.
“The Paris agreement should be fair, balanced, durable and comprehensive, reflecting the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances," the Brics said.
The COP 21 climate summit is due to begin on 30 November, when leaders from around the world will meet in Paris to attempt what a 2009 summit in Copenhagen failed to do: reach a global agreement on how to cut fossil-fuel use. Countries have already submitted so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, pledging the scope of emissions cuts.
The G-20 summit runs until Monday. Climate change is one of the main pillars of the talks. There will be a leaders’ working dinner on Sunday evening.
A French delegation official did not respond to a request for comment about talks over the communique’s climate pledge. Bloomberg