WH sees 'momentum' for climate change deal

WH sees 'momentum' for climate change deal
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The Obama administration said Wednesday that it sees growing support for negotiators working toward an international climate change deal. 

“There is still a lot of work to be done but momentum is moving in the right direction,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during his press briefing Wednesday.

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Negotiators have a self-imposed Friday deadline to reach a final climate deal, though talks may extend beyond that. Earnest predicted “sleepless nights” before a deal is complete.

Officials hashing out a final climate deal released a new draft version of the accord on Wednesday. The pact was 29 pages long, down from an earlier 43-page draft, and it included significantly fewer of the brackets or blank spaces that denote open questions, the Associated Press reports

Financing options for developing countries and those vulnerable to climate change remains a sticking point, the AP said. The United States pledged Wednesday to double the climate grants it provides to developing nations. 

“We are prepared to do our part,” Secretary of State John Kerry said during a speech in Paris. “And we will not leave the most vulnerable nations among us to, quite literally, weather the storm alone.”

Negotiators are also grappling over the overarching goal of the climate deal: whether it’s designed to prevent the Earth’s temperature from rising by 2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees. 

Governments have long backed the 2-degree figure, which scientists consider the threshold for preventing the worst of global warming. 

But some negotiators are calling for a final Paris pact to formally embrace the more aggressive goal, setting up an even quicker transition toward clean energy than what was previously planned. 

The draft text "definitely shows progress both in terms of the conciseness of the text as well as in terms of the crystallization of the political points that still need a lot of work," U.N. climate agency chief Christiana Figueres said, according to the AP.