Editor's Note: Pulse environmental columnist Sandra Kurtz and Sierra Club Student Coalition youth reporter Wenona Kunesh are in Paris, attending the UN Climate Change Conference. They are filing periodic reports when they have a free moment.
The COP21 Global Climate Change agreement is almost in final form. The draft document has been released with several options and blanks still to be determined.
A central part of the Preamble states a goal as recognizing the intrinsic relationship between climate change, poverty eradication and equitable access to sustainable development, and reaffirming that responses to climate change should aim to meet the specific needs and concerns arising from the adverse impacts of response measures.
This agreement looks to be a pretty strong. It is still undecided about whether to set the goal at 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius and that will determine just how ambitious the final agreement is. It is good to see that there is much that addresses the problems of ‘environmental refugees’ due to climate change and recognition that developing countries will need help.
Most encouraging are the provisions for checking up on each country to track progress. However, it includes little that holds feet to the fire if a country does not implement its plan.
The agreement is laid out in 9 categories for action:
1. Purpose (1.5 degrees Celsius or 2)
3. Mitigation (Seeking reduction in greenhouse gas emissions)
- REDD Plus (This refers to reforestation and other methods of sequestering of greenhouse gases
- Mechanism to Support Sustainable Development
4. Loss and Damage (addressing needs resulting from climate change induced displacement migration and planned relocation)
5. Finance (undetermined outcomes at this time, but several funds have been created primarily from developed countries, businesses, and investors to provide aid to developing countries)
6. Technology Development And Transfer (Monies are being placed in a research fund.)
7. Capacity Building (enhance country capabilities to take effective climate change actions)
8. Transparency (establishing procedures to exchange information and provide technical review and assessment for actions)
9. Global Stocktake (check ins every 5 years)
There are additional sections in the agreement dealing with administrative procedures telling who is doing what such matters as how to make amendments, withdraw, settle disputes, etc. It further states that the text must appear in six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
The final agreement should be done by Saturday.