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Environment

New draft accord pushes Paris climate conference into decisive phase

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has presented a draft for a global climate agreement. But consensus is still a long way off, with many questions likely to be unsolved until the Paris conference's final moments.

Slowly but surely, clarity is emerging about what a global climate agreement could look like. Presiding over the UN conference currently underway in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius presented negotiators from over 190 countries with a new draft of a potential agreement.

"This text is not the final version of the agreement," Fabius said, at the same time stressing that progress had been made during the negotiations.

The new draft runs over 29 pages compared to the previous version's 43 pages. Square brackets denoting different text options had been reduced by 75 percent, Fabius said.

Differentiation one of the sticking points

The sticking points that remain include the issue of "differentiation."

This term refers to a principle embedded in the UN Climate Change Convention assigning "common but differentiated responsibilities" to industrialized and developing nations.

Throughout the negotiations, industrialized countries have been adamant that in the future, donors should include rich developing nations like the oil-exporting countries.

Nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have opposed any such moves.

Notably, the new draft contains no explicit request for the circle of donors to be enlarged, indicating that both the European Union and the United States have budged in their demands.

US increasing financial support for poor nations

Shortly before Fabius' presentation of the new draft, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a fervent appeal that the Paris conference deliver an agreement that was "as ambitious as possible."

Frankreich COP21 Klimagipfel John Kerry

Kerry said the world needed an ambitious agreement

In a move aimed at bringing poor developing nations aboard for an agreement, Kerry announced the United States would double public commitments to support countries in their efforts adapting to the impacts of climate change.

"We are prepared to do our part, and we will not leave the most vulnerable countries among us alone," Kerry said.

Andrew Steer, president of the US-based World Resources Institute, said Kerry's announcement was "very helpful" and showed the US commitment to reaching a strong agreement.

'Getting serious'

Fabius only took about 15 minutes to present the new draft, saying negotiators had asked them to allow time for deliberation among country groups.

Later on Wednesday evening, Fabius will reconvene delegates to hear their feedback

However, the day will not end with that.

"You have to be ready to work overnight," Fabius said.

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