The climate talks in Lima ran into extra-time as several countries, including India and China, refused to accept proposals in a hurriedly-prepared draft text that many saw as weak and lacking in ambition.
The talks remained deadlocked throughout the day on Friday and by the evening the countries had abandoned the formal processes to huddle in small informal groups and bilateral meetings in a desperate bid to forge an agreement over at least some of the basic issues that have remained intractable over the two weeks of negotiations.
Not for the first time in recent years, the annual climate talks spilled over into the extra day and were slated to continue till the morning of Saturday at least.
The objections raised by the developing countries on Friday were the same that have plagued this round of talks since its beginning.
They complained that the draft text, thrust on the negotiators on Thursday night, did not adequately address the idea that there was a hard distinction between the developed and developing countries and consequently the actions that can be expected from them to fight climate change. This idea of ‘differentiation’ is one of the basic pillars of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which the negotiations are being held, and something that developing countries swear by every time they sit down to articulate their position at the climate talks.
Differences over whether and how much money developed countries should provide as support to the developing countries in carrying out mitigation and adaptation measures have also remained unresolved. As has the debate whether only mitigation should be counted as “contributions” when countries next year announce their set of actions to fight climate change or adaptation measures must also be acknowledged.
After hours of behind the scenes activity, the negotiators assembled for an informal meeting at 1 am on Saturday morning hoping to come up with a new draft text that could be inserted into the formal process for discussion.