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Draft of Final U.N. Climate Deal Reached


Negotiators at the UN climate talks in Paris have delivered a draft text of a new pact to curb global warming. Now it's up to delegates from nearly 200 countries to vote it up or vote it down. We're joined now from Paris by NPR's Christopher Joyce. Christopher, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: The chief French negotiator addressed delegates today. What did he say?

JOYCE: He said the world is holding its breath. He quoted Nelson Mandela. He said that none of us acting alone can be successful. It was a pep talk really. He said everyone comes here with red lines that they don't want to cross. And he urged them - OK, forget that, and let's agree on a new deal.

SIMON: What's the strategy been on behalf of various interests as they approach the end of this?

JOYCE: It's followed a pretty basic narrative that the wealthy Western nations got rich using fossil fuels with abandon, and now they want the rest of the world to develop without them. And the developing world is saying, look, we can't afford to do that unless you help us to pay to go green. And all of this opens up some historical wounds, actually. I mean, many developing countries were colonized by Western imperial powers. And some of their delegates here have been - well, they say they don't want to be bullied by Western governments.

SIMON: What does the West offer to try and keep those countries in the tent, so to speak?

JOYCE: Mostly money. India and China and the African countries, in particular, have argued strongly that financial aid from the West has not been forthcoming. So there's language now to assure that these funds will flow and that more will come later. What the western bloc of donor nations got in return was the right to monitor how that money would get spent. And this was a tough win actually, because China and India, in particular, are wary of being second-guessed by outside governments.

SIMON: So in the end, all this money and effort, in theory, will reduce the rate of warming around the planet. Is that enough?

JOYCE: In theory, but not enough. Actually, scientists say the emission reductions that have been pledged so far here are not enough to keep the world from a dangerous level of warming. So the latest text says everyone has to keep coming back and reducing omissions more and more. This has been quite controversial. And eventually, they say, the world has to just abandon fossil fuels completely.

SIMON: Assuming this draft gets approved in Paris, what happens then?

JOYCE: Every delegation takes it home, and they go through whatever process they need to ratify it. The U.S. is a bit unusual. President Obama knows that Senate Republicans won't buy this. But the strategy is - the pledges to reduce emissions are really not legally binding, only the mechanisms to make it happen. So this is the way they figure they'll finesse it. But then there's the whole notion of getting the money to pay for all of this. That's the next chapter in this saga.

SIMON: NPR's Christopher Joyce in Paris. Thanks so much.

JOYCE: A pleasure to be with you Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.