COP21: India, China, Saudi Arabia 'happy' with climate pact

AFP , Saturday 12 Dec 2015

India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, left, is welcomed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon prior to a bilateral meeting at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Photo: AP)

India, China and Saudi Arabia are "happy" with a planned 195-nation agreement to rein in global warming, a spokesman for a developing country bloc long at odds with the West, told AFP Saturday.

"We're happy with the agreement. We think it is balanced and we feel they've taken into account our interests," Gurdial Singh Nijar said on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) grouping of two dozen odd countries.

"India agrees. China agrees. Saudi Arabia agrees. The Arab group agrees."

All had been considered hard to win over in the years-long battle between rich and developing countries for a pact binding all the world's nations to curbs of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

"LMDC has very serious objections, but to the weather conditions outside, not the agreement," the Malaysian negotiator and LMDC spokesman said on the sidelines of the UN conference, clearly in high spirits despite many sleepless nights of tough haggling.

Nijar's announcement raised hopes that UN talks underway in Paris, already running a full day into overtime, would ultimately adopt the final draft which was presented to ministers by host France in the early morning hours.

The European Commission also said it had no reservations.

"The agreement covers all our main asks -- it's ambitious, it's balanced," commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told AFP.

Rich and developing nations have been at odds for years over questions fairness and finance in sharing out responsibility for greenhouse gas emission curbs.

Developing nations insist rich countries must shoulder the lion's share of responsibility for tackling climate change as they have polluted most since the Industrial Revolution -- a principle known as "differentiation".

But the United States and other rich nations say emerging giants must also do more as they account for most of today's emissions and will be largely responsible for future warming.

Finance for developing nations to make the shift to costly renewable energy and shore up defences against climate impacts, has been another long argument.

Nijar said the latest draft upheld the differentiation principle.

In addition, "the finance is made compulsory, the figure has been indicated, it has to be scaled up, there has to be progression.

"So overall, we feel it has taken into account the interests of developing countries."

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