The penultimate draft

At 9:30pm on Friday, the COP president Laurent Fabius released an updated “Draft Paris Outcome.” The text is now down to 27 pages (including the Draft Agreement and the COP Decision) and a mere 50 brackets. Options remain but the end appears in sight. Negotiators will continue to work over night until the final Paris Outcome is released.

The following is a brief list of what has changed. For context, please see our analysis of the previous draft.


Most of the same rights (human rights, ecosystem integrity, just transition of workforces, etc) are still in the preambular text.

Reference to intergenerational equity is back in the text, acknowledgement of oceans, biodiversity and Mother Earth are out of brackets, and recognition of the need for “deep reductions” has been added.

Some language surrounding differentiation has been removed. For example, the paragraph “noting that the largest share of historical global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries” has been removed. So too has a section acknowledging that “per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs” , aswell as the sentence stating that “Parties should take action to address climate change in accordance with evolving economic and emission trends, which will continue to evolve post 2020.” These omissions do not bode well for differentiation.

Purpose (Art 2):

Parties appear to have settled on the ‘middle road’ option, which acknowledges both of the contested temperature targets. That is, to

Hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.

A few other bracketed phrases have been removed. Some, such as “deep cuts”, implementation with respect to human rights, and the aim of responding to loss and damage make the overall purpose less ambitious.

The purpose of “net zero” emission reductions has also been removed.

Whether the agreement will be implemented with respect to common but differentiated responsibilities, or merely reflect it, is undecided.

Progression/ratchet (Art 2bis):

The two options that frame the debate over progression still exist, but have been streamlined and contain far less brackets.

The first now states that Parties are to undertake and communicate their mitigation, adaptation, and support efforts (ie INDCs) with an element of progression.

The second is a slightly more detailed option, which fleshes out the differentiated responsibilities of this process slightly (noting that it will be dependent on financial support etc), as well as clarifying that subsequent efforts must be communicated before the previous INDCs expire.

Additionally, the draft COP decision (which is a political declaration rather than a durable legal instrument) invites Parties who submitted INDCs containing a time-frame up to 2025 -2030 to communicate a new one by 2020, and every five years thereafter. This is not binding but will encourage mobilization in the short term.

Mitigation (Art 3):

This article reads well in what looks like to be a near final form. The collective long term goal appears to be a combination of previous options (i.e. peaking and declining into an endpoint that is a qualitative state):

In order to achieve the long-term global temperature goal set in Article 2 of this Agreement, Parties aim to reach the peaking of greenhouse house gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter towards reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century on the basis of equity and guided by science in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

This is vaguer than previous versions. “Carbon neutrality” is undefined, and is not the same language that has previously been used (decarbonization or net zero greenhouse emissions). Both peaking and endpoint goals are not attached to a specific date.

With regards to differentiation, the need for developed countries to make “deeper cuts” is gone. CBDR language is also removed from the paragraph on progression/no backsliding. This may make it harder to hold developed countries to account for failing to lead the charge in their emissions reductions.

Most other options are slightly reworded or rearranged but substantively similar to their previous iterations. The flexibility clause is still in, allowing SIDs and African states discretion in their INDCs. LDCs however are no longer included. Reference to Aviation and Maritime emissions are still gone. Art 3bis on land use and forestry is largely the same (although it no longer specifically references REDD+) and Art 3 ter on flexibility mechanisms is slightly more fleshed out.

Overall the section is comprehensive, but the collective goal weaker than previous options.

Adaptation (Art 4):

This article was previously all but resolved. Recognition of the vulnerability of LDCs and SIDs is still bracketed.  Recognition that greater rates and magnitude of climate change increases the likelihood of exceeding adaptation limits has now been removed from brackets.

Loss and damage (Art 5):

This section, which was untouched last time, has been updated. There is no longer an option for loss and damage to be amalgamated into the adaptation section.

There are two options here: the first “recognizes” the importance of addressing loss and damage, and is very vague. The second is more comprehensive, either establishing a new mechanism or using the existing to Warsaw Framework to deal with early warning systems, slow onset events, risk insurance facilities, non-economic losses, and climate change related displacement, but explicitly precludes liability and compensation.

A footnote indicates that this section will be further developed.

Finance (Art 6):

Of all of the articles, Financing contained the most options in the previous draft.

It is clearer now, but the nature of the finance sources (ie new, additional, adequate, predictable, accessible, sustained, scaled up) are still all bracketed.

The decision text “strongly urges” pre 2020 finance and a concrete road-map to achieve the post-2020  goal of 100 billion USD floor. The agreement mentions simplifying approval procedures and improving readiness support for developing countries, as well as establishing a 5 year cycle for setting collective finance goals.

The amount of funding that will be in ‘grant’ form and the amount that will be in less direct  forms such as concessional loans, government co-financing and levering private finance is not yet specified, nor does the text any indication of which spending projects should be prioritised.

Tech transfer (Art 7):

This section is largely similar to the previous section, although brackets have mostly been dropped. There is no explicit mention of Intellectual Property Rights.

Capacity Building (Art 8):

The differentiated aspect of capacity building is no longer in question, with a focus on developing countries and particularly LDCs and SIDs.

Transparency (Art 9):

This section is also largely similar. There are still multiple options for the technical review process, which have varying levels of differentiation between developed and developing nations. Both review options can raise issues of compliance or lead to consequences but how this works is not specified.

Compliance (Art 11):

This section is still underdeveloped. Whether the mechanism promotes facilitation and compliance, or just the former, is unresolved.

Global stocktake (Art 10):

This section is no longer bracketed. It will happen in 2023 and every five years after. The decision text calls for a facilitative dialogue to take stock of collective efforts in 2019, and then invites parties to resubmit their INDCs.

Entry into force (Art 18):

The provision which governs the entry into force of the agreement is critical in rendering the international document enforceable. Since previous iterations, the requirements in this section have become stricter. It now requires at least 55 parties to ratify, and ratifying parties to cover either 55 or 70 percent of global emissions. Large emitter nations (such as China who accounts for 28% of global emissions) could thus easily block the Agreement from coming into force. The Kyoto Protocol took 8 years to come into force for a similar reason, will the same happen here? Weighing in favour of Paris the reality that the nature of the Paris Outcome is inclusive, the ‘bottom up’ approach has traded off ambition for participation, and INDCs have already been submitted. Presumably if Parties reach agreement they will ratify.


The financing and loss and damage provisions still need work, the long term goal is weaker than desirable, and the various differentiation clauses are likely to be tweaked. This represents a convergence of Parties on most issues; a balance between the various negotiating positions. Within the next twenty four hours, an agreement that resembles this draft is highly likely to be finalised. Yet, whether this compromised Outcome will be enough for an effective international regime to combat climate change is a different question and one which will address when the final text is released.

Simon Hillier and Tom Stuart (ed)





3 Responses to The penultimate draft

  1. Great analysis Simon!
    The clauses on international emissions trading, Article 3 ter paras 1 to 4 are still in brackets. And are fairly general.
    So it doesn’t look like Jo Tyndall and the NZ delegation have been as successful as they would like in maintaining creative carbon accounting loopholes. Back home the Greens have called them out over being so focused on access to carbon markets.

  2. Ashok Singha says:

    We don’t see a price signal for CDM. Only stricter norms on the double counting and non reflection of same reduction units in national GHG inventory for industry participants would be tricky. Will a national market evolve in developing countries or there will be an auction market to have a trade in five years ratcheting?

  3. Ashok Singha says:

    Stricter and uniform MRV , check on double counting should reduce imperfection in carbon market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *