10 Dec 2015

Talks heat up as draft deal delivered

9:30 pm on 10 December 2015

Negotiators at the Paris climate change talks are working around the clock to try to settle differences so they can finalise a global deal to slow global warming.

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Photo: AFP

Countries at the Paris climate change talks have given critical feedback on the latest draft of the deal, which was delivered in the early hours of this morning.

Countries considered the draft text for five hours, and this morning gave feedback to the French presidency in an open session of the Paris committee.

Representing the umbrella group, of which New Zealand is part, Australia's Peter Woolcott told the conference the draft text was not the ambitious agreement his group was seeking.

Many countries said the new text was now unbalanced, with Malaysia quipping the text was indeed balanced in that everybody was equally unhappy.

New Zealand's former climate change ambassador, Adrian Macey, said this stage of the negotiations was always going to get tricky, and the next few days would be crucial.

"We do need some sort of probably a crisis, a realisation that we haven't got there yet and there's very little time, so we need to do something more - step it up in another way," he said.

"So that will be the presidency I think will make that judgement."

Non-government groups were also unhappy with the new text, saying it lacked ambition.

Gary Cranston from Unite Union was part of a large protest action outside the main halls which took place in the hours after the draft was released.

He said references to indigenous people, workers' rights and gender equity were now only being given a token mention in the document.

"Some of these particular aspects of rights for different types of people have been hopping in and out of the texts as the negotiations have been going on for the last week and a half or so," Mr Cranston said.

"They've now just been moved out of the operational part of the texts which means it's sort of lip-service, its just been put into the preamble, which of course has made a lot of people extremely upset."

New Zealand's climate change ambassador Jo Tyndall said she expected a bumpy road between now and the weekend, when it is hoped the final deal is agreed.

Climate change ambassador Jo Tyndall and associate climate change minister Simon Bridges brief NZ stakeholders and media in the NZ delegation room at Cop21.

Climate change ambassador Jo Tyndall and associate climate change minister Simon Bridges brief NZ stakeholders and media in the NZ delegation room at Cop21. Photo: Jo Tyndall

She said New Zealand negotiators take a bit of a back seat at this stage of the talks.

"At the end, a small number of countries who count will need to be brought on board and by-and-large those are big economies, they don't include New Zealand, so we have no expectation of being in the small rooms at the very end of this process where the final deal is cut."

Adrian Macey, who is also a former chair of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, said what happens in the open hearings was just a small part of of what was going on .

"Underneath that is all the diplomacy that the French are doing, working very, very hard along with all the Ministers that are helping them," Mr Macey said.

"They're going round basically the whole time talking to different Ministers, different delegations, groups of countries, so that they're getting a sense of the next text they put down what's going to be possible."

The French hosts plan to deliver another draft text in the early hours of tomorrow morning, as the weekend deadline for a deal looms.

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