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COP21 Goes into Overtime

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COP21, scheduled to end on Friday, December 11, will continue on Saturday. Extension of the annual negotiating meeting beyond the planned closing time has become commonplace. This time there were hopeful speculations that they would finish on time, fed by a more positive atmosphere at the COP than in the past, and by relatively rapid progress that was being made in negotiating the text for the Paris agreement. But the parts of the text left in brackets, meaning still contested and under negotiation among Parties, are some of the most diifficult to resolve. One contested issue that appears to have been resolved, assuming that it is not reopened on Saturday, is the long-term goal. Some Parties advocated that the goal should be to limit global temperature increase to below 2 degrees C from the pre-inustrial level, while others advocated for 1.5 degrees. The compromise text reads "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C."Remaining issues to be resolved are how the agreement will differentiate the roles and responsibilities of developed and developing countries, provision of finance to support climate actions by developing countries, and whether, how and how often often Parties will be called on to revise their plans for reducing emissions so as to become more "ambituous" over time. The latter point reflects the reality that the reductions represented in countries' Intended Nationally Determined Contributions would not limit warming to below 2 degrees C.

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