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High level segment of COP21 talks begin

This is where the truly tough work begins as ministers begin negotiations on a draft climate agreement.

Conference attendee sit in a conference room on the opening day of the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, on November 30, 2015 in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of the French capital Paris. More than 150 world leaders are meeting under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as Paris 2015 from November 30 to December 11. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - Ministers from nearly 200 countries are gathering today in the north of Paris to begin their negotiations on a draft climate agreement as the high level segment of the COP21 talks begin.

In the last week, over 40,000 delegates have been hammering out the technical details of a deal with a new draft text agreed on Saturday.

This week is all about brackets and eliminating them.

There are 939 groups of square brackets in the draft text, each representing an area of disagreement with a set of options ministers will have to decide between.

A deal is expected before the week is out, but it's all in the details; the choice to make it legally binding or just partly, or not at all.

The choice to try to limit global warming to two degrees, or well under two degrees, the choice to help poor countries deal with climate change, but in what ways and how much.

This is where the truly tough work begins.

The perceived success of these talks will rest on the balance between brave decisions and compromise and just how ambitious ministers will be.