Countries reach climate-saving blueprint at Cop21 in first milestone

It’s the skeleton of a long-sought after deal to halt climate change, and comes after four years of tough negotiations.

Talks were so tough, that Saturday’s blueprint, signed by negotiators from 195 nations, is still strewn with conflicting proposals. Yet its plan to wean the world away from fossil fuels has renewed hopes of reigning in global warming.

“We have a new universally accepted basis for negotiations,” declared French negotiator Laurence Taubiana on Saturday, “now we need to write the next”.

The planned deal aims to break the world’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy, slashing the greenhouse gas emissions from burning oil, coal and gas that are causing temperatures to rise dangerously.

Despite being riddled with conflicting proposals on most key points, the draft drawn up in four years has been described as the most significant global accord ever attempted.

The main sticking points include the gap between rich and poor nations. Poorer nations have demanded finance to pay for costly measures to adapt to renewable energy and mitigate climate change.

At stake is hundreds of billions of dollars that rich countries are expected to start providing from 2020, under the planned Paris pact.

The Paris talks–considered as the “last, best chance” to save mankind–come after a string of failed UN negotiations to halt climate change; notably because of the failure to forge unity between rich and poor nations.

“The work is not complete, and major political issues need to be decided on,” continued Taubiana. “We will need all our energy, intelligence, capacity for compromise, and ability to think long-term if we are to achieve our result”, she added.

On Monday, ministers from across the world will descend on Paris to try and transform the draft into an agreement.