Global climate talks stumbling near finish line; Obama, Xi talk

What Happens If Paris Climate Talks Fail?

PARIS (Reuters) - Efforts to craft a global accord to combat climate change stumbled early on Friday after a "hard night" of talks, forcing host nation France to extend the U.N. summit by a day to overcome stubborn divisions.

After revealing a new draft treaty that removed some main points of contention last night, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a final text would now be presented to nearly 200 nations for review only on Saturday, not later on Friday as he had hoped just hours earlier.

While annual U.N. climate meetings almost always run into overtime, the abrupt announcement came as some officials and observers also said that wee-hours discussions had not run as smoothly as hoped. The talks had been due to end on Friday.

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Global climate talks stumbling near finish line; Obama, Xi talk
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates leave a meeting to launch the 'Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution' at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Ian Langsdon/Pool
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama as they meet during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists of global anti-poverty charity Oxfam wearing masks depicting some of the world leaders U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Francois Hollande stage a protest outside the venue of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the climate change summit in Paris, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the climate agreement at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2015. The global climate summit in Paris agreed a landmark accord on Saturday, setting the course for a historic transformation of the world's fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to arrest global warming. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama (from L) delivers remarks at a Paris Agreements climate event with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and China� President Xi Jinping ahead of the G20 Summit, at Westlake Statehouse in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) at the U.S. ambassador's residence during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France December 1, 2015. Obama urged Turkey on Tuesday to reduce tensions with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane and to seal its border with Syria to choke off the supply of money and fighters to Islamic State militants. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama walks in the main conference hall during the opening ceremony of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

As at the outset two weeks ago, some nations remain at odds over issues such as how to balance actions by rich and poor to limit greenhouse gases, and also the long-term goals of any agreement to limit emissions that are warming the earth.

One source said the "night was very hard".

"Major countries have entrenched behind their red lines instead of advancing on compromise," said Matthieu Orphelin, spokesman for the Nicolas Hulot Foundation.

Fabius, speaking on French BFMTV, kept a positive tone.

"But the atmosphere is good, things are positive, things are going in the right direction," he said.

Separately, China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by telephone and said their countries would maintain cooperation on climate change, Chinese state television reported. It was unclear what they discussed, or whether the call signalled new divisions between the world's largest emitters, who struck a landmark climate accord last year.

Xi said the two nations "must strengthen coordination with all parties and work together to ensure the Paris climate summit reaches an accord as scheduled", according to a report on state CCTV.

The latest draft pointed to a compromise on the once-formidable divide over how ambitious the deal should be in trying to control the rise in the earth's surface temperature. It indicated apparent agreement on seeking a more ambitious goal to restrain the rise in temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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