Climate change talks: Race against time

10:35 am on 5 December 2015

Negotiators at the Paris climate change talks are racing against the clock to get a draft agreement ready to hand to the French hosts by midnight tonight.

A melting planet in an ice cream cone carried during the climate change march in  Berlin, Germany.

A melting planet in an ice cream cone carried during the climate change march in Berlin, Germany. Photo: AFP

Delegates from 196 countries are meeting at the crucial United Nations conference in Paris to discuss a new deal to limit global warming.

Progress is slowing as countries start getting down to the finer points of the agreement, with the draft text now split into two parts.

Labour's Megan Woods, who is part of New Zealand's official delegation, said it was currently hard to know what the final text would look like.

"Because the text we're seeing, whether it's either one of the two versions we're talking about, there's still a whole lot of square brackets, so exactly what that's going to look like - even whether it's a 1.5 degree or 2 degree target that we're talking about - is still square-bracketed in the text."

But she added that while progress is slow, it was to be expected.

"There seems to be a set of rituals that we need to go through to get there. The French take over the presidency tomorrow, I guess a lot of it will come down to the firm hand of chairmanship that comes through on that. And then of course, when the Ministers all roll into town on Monday, things start to get a whole lot more political once the negotiators move aside."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who is also on the official delegation, said progress was being hampered because of disagreements between developed and developing countries.

He said the main debate was primarily around finance.

"The question really is are developed countries doing enough to support developing countries to leap-frog the industrial era and move to a smart, green economy without damaging their prospects of increasing wealth for their people."

Simon Bradshaw from Oxfam Australia said while climate change affected everyone, developing countries were being hit the hardest.

"There's not enough on the table from richer countries, either in terms of getting their own house in order, in transitioning their economies, or in terms of providing support that poorer countries need."

The French hosts need the draft agreement by midnight to make sure it is ready for ministers when they arrive on Monday.