Negotiations between scientists and governments over a key United Nations climate report were going down to the wire on Sunday, as officials from major emerging economies insisted that it should recognise their right to development.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN-backed science body, is meant to show the paths by which the world can stay within the temperature limits agreed in the 2015 Paris accord.
The agreement aims to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius this century. But with temperatures already more than 1.1C higher than the pre-industrial baseline, many experts say that’s only possible with drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
The closed-doors meeting was meant to wrap up on Friday so that the report could be presented to the public on Monday.
But several observers said that the talks were still far from finished with less than 24 hours to go before the publication deadline.
One climate scientist said about 70% of the text had so far been agreed and there was still hope the negotiations might finish by Sunday.
India has emerged as a key voice pushing for recognition in the report that developing countries have contributed a far smaller share of the carbon dioxide emissions already in the atmosphere than industrialised nations. Therefore, India should not be required to make the same steep cuts.
India, which is heavily dependent on coal, also wants poor countries to receive significantly more financial support to cope with climate change and make the transition to a low-carbon economy. Others, such as oil exporter Saudi Arabia, argue that fossil fuels will still be needed for decades to come and phasing them out too quickly could hurt the world’s poorest.