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New Draft Comes out ahead of Climate Deal Deadline

Negotiators at the climate talks in Paris have released a new, shorter draft of an international accord to fight global warming.

The draft removes many previous questions, but some leaders and analysts say it leaves several key issues unresolved.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, presiding over the conference, told delegates that some progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

"The new text, including a core agreement and accompanying decisions, runs 29 pages, much shorter than the 43-page version that countries reached last Saturday. It's a clean version, with three quarters of the brackets having been removed from the text, though there are still too many brackets left." According to Fabius, the major issues that remain to be resolved include post-2020 climate finance, and how to reflect the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" in all elements of the new agreement.

China's special envoy on climate change Xie Zhenhua says the Chinese delegation is analyzing the new text and will consult with its partners.

"There are three minister-level problems left to be resolved. They are the divergence, capital and working force. The solution to these three problems depends on the degree of the commitment of all the countries, and they can make different choices. We hope to see further communication. The conference will be a success if the three problems are solved."

Jake Schmidt, the director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the draft agreement removes many previous questions, but leaders are still faced with deciding whether it's going to be a foundational agreement.

"I think what they have done is sort of cut out a lot of the fat. This is getting much more down to what are the real critical issues. There are still a number of options that ministers have to make over the next 48 hours and they are on some of the really big issues that are going to determine whether or not this is a watered down agreement or if this is a foundational agreement the world should stand up and applaud."

Tense negotiations are going on among leaders as the climate change conference in Paris draws near its conclusion on Friday.

( December 10, 2015)

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