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Nearly 200 Nations Agree On Climate Change Draft Plan At Paris Summit

Representatives of 195 nations have adopted a blueprint to address climate change at the COP21 conference. Last night, Leonardo DiCaprio spoke to mayors attending the talks in Paris about pushing for local actions to fight climate change.

Negotiators at COP21, the U.N. climate change conference in Paris, have settled on a rough blueprint for approaching the complex and contentious task of reining in emissions and reducing global warming. But many issues will need to be resolved by the summit's end next Friday.

"It always seems impossible until it's done," French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal told the conference Saturday, quoting Nelson Mandela. She then added, "We will do it."

You can read the 48-page draft accord farther down in this post.

From Paris, NPR's Christopher Joyce reports:

"Negotiators today turn a draft text over to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will then set the rules for week two. That's when senior ministers from nearly 200 countries will try to clean it up and forge something that governments can sign.

"Numerous loopholes and caveats remain. Many involve how much money the wealthier countries will provide to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and also lower their own emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Outside of the official proceedings, however, private groups, banks and some corporate CEOs have pledged to invest in new green technology to help developing countries. Also there's been progress in designing a way for heavily forested countries to get paid for saving forests that absorb carbon dioxide and slow warming."

At the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a range of partnerships with organizations from the World Bank to the University of Maryland. That group will hold a summit in Washington next May, to work on "concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas," according to a UN release, which lists some of those areas as cities, transportation, and finance.

"I am heartened by the significant and growing coalitions that are emerging to tackle the challenges of climate change and realize new opportunities," Ban said.

As it's currently written, the draft agreement lays out three broad goals:

  • "To hold the increase in the global average temperature [below 1.5 °C] [or] [well below 2 °C] above preindustrial levels by ensuring deep reductions in global greenhouse gas [net] emissions;
  • "To Increase their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change [and to effectively respond to the impacts of the implementation of response measures and to loss and damage];
  • "To pursue a transformation towards sustainable development that fosters climate resilient and low greenhouse gas emission societies and economies, and that does not threaten food production and distribution."

And it adds that the agreement will be implemented in a way that takes into account differences in responsibilities and capabilities, as well as human rights and gender equality.

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