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Countries find common ground on road through Paris

road through Paris

Creative Commons: Moyan Brenn, 2010

Amongst stark warnings that half a billion people are threatened by rising seas and more than one hundred million at risk of poverty, that greenhouse gas levels are at record highs and global temperature rise is set to hit 1DegC this year, nearly 70 ministers met in Paris this week to make progress towards a deal to limit climate change.

With just three weeks to go before the UN climate summit at which a new, universal climate agreement is due to be signed, ministers at the ‘pre-COP’ found common ground on some crunch issues.

The politicians meeting at the ‘pre-COP’ made progress on the regular reviewing and increasing of national climate pledges and the central role of climate finance in the Paris agreement.

But with 150 climate pledges now on the table, research on their impact shows keeping global warming under the 2DegC danger threshold will require governments to strengthen and clarify their support for a mechanism to ramp up country pledges in line with a long-term target of the complete decarbonisation of the global economy.

While climate finance was a sticking-point at the final round of official negotiations in Bonn, the roll-call of figures calling for a credible financial package includes International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Pope Francis, as well as global business groups.

The EU committed today to increase climate funds, adding momentum to those calls, but leaders of the most vulnerable nations meeting in Manila will be waiting for further clarity, details and commitments from the EU and other developed countries that observers say are needed in the coming weeks.

As one high level meeting gives way to the next, the world will be watching to see whether heads of state can build on the pre-COP outcome, and ratchet up the ambition and clarity in the draft text – notably in terms of a roadmap on increasing post-2020 climate finance and the inclusion of a long-term decarbonisation goal – to reach a strong and meaningful climate agreement in Paris next month.

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