Delegates from almost 200 nations worked through the night on Friday and into Saturday, working to create the 48-page “Draft Paris Agreement,” made public on Saturday, December 5th. The draft agreement will be the subject of continued negotiations this week in Paris, with the goal of finalizing a long-term climate change agreement among all parties by the end of the week.

The draft agreement lays out three broad goals:

  • "To hold the increase in the global average temperature [below 1.5 °C] [or] [well below 2 °C] above preindustrial levels by ensuring deep reductions in global greenhouse gas [net] emissions;
  • "To Increase their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change [and to effectively respond to the impacts of the implementation of response measures and to loss and damage];
  • "To pursue a transformation towards sustainable development that fosters climate resilient and low greenhouse gas emission societies and economies, and that does not threaten food production and distribution."

The draft agreement contains many options that will need to be agreed on by negotiators, including:

  • The precise goal of the agreement;
  • How countries are divided into developed verses developing nations; and
  • Whether the agreement’s GHG emissions reductions should be legally binding.

The last point represents a current difference between China and U.S. negotiators. China is pushing for an agreement that is legally binding in its entirety. The U.S. has argued that GHG emissions cuts should not be legally binding; perhaps a pragmatic position due to the fact that legally binding emissions cuts could require the U.S. submit the agreement for approval by the U.S. Senate, which would likely reject any such proposal.