Le Bourget (France) (AFP) – World powers led a frenetic final push Friday to seal a UN accord aimed at averting catastrophic climate change, as sleep-deprived envoys battled in Paris over trillion-dollar disputes blocking a deal. The 195-nation conference in Paris had been scheduled to wrap up on Friday, delivering a historic agreement that would brake global warming and ease its impacts. But weary negotiators braced themselves for a third straight round of all-night haggling after ministers wrestled with a myriad of deal-busting rows. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he would submit a proposed final agreement on Saturday morning, and declared he was “sure” of success. “We are almost at the end of the road and I am optimistic,” said Fabius, who is presiding over the talks that began nearly a fortnight ago with a record summit of more than 150 world leaders. Many leaders billed the talks as the last chance to avert disastrous climate change: increasingly severe drought, floods and storms, as well as rising seas that would engulf islands and populated coasts. The planned accord would seek to revolutionise the world’s energy system by cutting back or potentially eliminating coal and other fossil fuels, replacing them with renewables such as solar and wind. The Paris talks have largely been free of the fierce arguments that have plagued previous UN climate conferences. But the biggest disputes over funding the climate fight, worth trillions of dollars over the decades to come, remain as potential deal-breakers in a draft accord released on Thursday night. – Success not guaranteed –
WITH China’s flagship event showcasing how its influence has grown in Africa set for the continent this year, the focus will inevitably be on the amount of new aid and loans Beijing dangles at the continent.
The last summit of the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) saw president Hu Jintao put on the table $20 billion in loans to African countries, doubling its previous offer.
As bilateral trade volumes have grown, Beijing will be expected to offer billions more at this year’s forum in South Africa, despite its domestic economy having cooled in recent months.
However, Africa can also expect to witness notably more incidences of state-sponsored domestic violence, both against civilians and competitors such as rebel groups, as Chinese aid increases, a new study shows.
Authors Roudabeh Kishi and Clionadh Raleigh, of the University of Sussex’s Department of Geography, say this effect is largely because aid from China is fungible, with its use determined by recipient countries.
Their working paper, titled Chinese Aid and Africa’s Pariah States, finds that political violence by the state increases with receipt of Chinese aid.
The same is not observed with aid from ‘traditional’ or Western donors, which comes tagged with conditions.