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COP21: Coalition of Nations push for ambitious deal

The coalition includes the US, all members of the EU & 79 African, Caribbean & Pacific countries.

COP21 in Paris. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - As the pressure builds at the COP21 talks, ahead of the Friday deadline for a global climate accord, a coalition of nations which cuts across rich and poor countries, has emerged to push for an ambitious deal.

The grouping, dubbed the 'High Ambition Coalition', represents more than 100 countries, all of whom are lobbying for a legally binding agreement on carbon emissions.

The coalition includes the United States, all members of the European Union and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, but it doesn't include South Africa, despite appearing to share many of the same negotiating positions.

The African continent will be one of the hardest hit by climate change, partly because its countries have less money to adapt to changes and its rural agriculture-dependent populations are heavily dependent on the weather.

Richer countries are already committed to providing $100 billion a year by 2020; in Paris, the question is how far that annual sum should rise and, most especially, how or whether big emerging economies should contribute.

The group points global warming to be capped 1.5 degree Celsius and reviews of emissions commitments every five years, with a legally binding architecture.

Initially convened by the Foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, a country severely threatened by climate change and rising sea-levels, the coalition has been meeting in secret dinners for the last six months.

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