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CREATING A FUTURE AT COP21

Now that COP21 in Paris is in it’s final days, the main issues in the draft agreement are whether to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 fahrenheit) or to 1.5 degrees (34.7 fahrenheit). Also delegates are attempting to clarify what constitutes Compensation of Loss and Damages in Developing countries.

How countries will account for their INDC’s (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) in the future is a contentious issue. INDCs are the actions and targets that countries have acknowledged that they will undertake to help keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. While INDCs are not legally binding, it is hoped that the resulting agreement next week will be. To date, about 185 nations have submitted their plans to fight climate change.

Many in Paris are advocating for loss-and-damage provisions to be included in the final climate change agreement. Developing countries are insisting on assistance when they suffer from irreparable losses (loss of lives, species, or land taken over by rising seas) and recoverable damages (damaged buildings, roads, power lines) — because of climate change induced weather phenomena. Richer countries aren’t keen on signing an agreement that makes them financially responsible for damages and losses globally and developing countries are refusing to sign if there isn’t a loss-and-damage provision.

Most everyone acknowledges that bringing more than 40,000 delegates from 195 countries together to agree on a climate pact is not easy. Many of the less developed countries feel that the rich countries have done little to reduce greenhouse gases or have taken significant steps that would limit climate change.

Negotiations remain a challenge, but the overall spirit outside the negotiations has been very positive. There is a feeling that the new era of solutions and transformation is beginning — not just making history — but creating the future.

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