The latest draft of a COP21 document aiming to strategise a global approach to combatting climate change is championing a more ambitious goal.
The document says governments should stick to a previously agreed goal to keep warming below 2C from pre-industrial times and “pursue efforts” to stop temperatures rising more than 1.5C, a target favoured by a large number of countries at the talks but opposed by China, Saudi Arabia and others.
It is hoped that the Paris conference will set out concrete terms and an explicit recognition of how much more needs to be done to curb global warming. Submissions from 195 countries are being considered in the exhausting final countdown of two-week UN talks in Paris on the first new global climate accord in 18 years.
So far the larger nations have set out the following plans in terms of how power generation will influence the larger approach to reducing carbon emissions.
India plans to reduce carbon intensity by 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, and to generate 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable power by the same date.
Russia has proposed cutting emissions by 25-30 per cent by 2030 from 1990 levels, conditional on the pledges of other “major emitters”.
China envisages reducing carbon intensity (CO2 emitted per unit of gross domestic product) by 60-65 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. China will also boost the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption from 11.2 per cent in 2014 to 20 per cent.
The European Union intends to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 over 1990 levels, and has set 27 per cent targets for renewable energy supply and efficiency gains.
It remains unclear precisely which provisions in the draft will be accepted by all countries on Friday. The contentious question of how much money wealthy countries will agree to deliver to poor nations to help them combat climate change remains a potential stumbling block, along with rules on reporting emissions levels.