Negotiators have released a new, shorter draft of an international accord to fight global warming that removes many previous questions but leaves several key issues unresolved.
The high-stakes conference in Paris is scheduled to end in two days. The draft document released by U.N. climate agency Wednesday is 29 pages, down from a 48-page version released Saturday.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "three-quarters" of the brackets in the previous version have been deleted, meaning negotiators have come to agreement on some of the many sticking points, including how to define the obligations of countries in different stages of development in fighting climate change.
"We've made progress but still a lot of work remains to be done," Fabius said.
The draft does not resolve the question of the long-term goal of the accord — whether it is to remove carbon emissions from the economy altogether, or just reduce them.
Nor does it resolve whether governments are aiming at reducing overall global temperatures by 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times or closer to 2 degrees.
There are about 100 places where there are decisions still to be made — either multiple options in brackets, or blank spaces.
Earlier Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States will double its commitment to helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change impacts such as increased extreme weather events.
Speaking at the COP21 Climate Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Kerry said the U.S. will increase the amount of money it provides for climate adaption grants to $860 million from $430 million by 2020.
The money will be part of an existing promise by wealthy countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance. Developing nations have been demanding more money from richer countries to help pay for them to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as increased floods and droughts, a sticking point in the talks.
The U.S. money, which must be approved by Congress, will help fund domestic weather services, tracking systems to better assist poorer nations in forecasting and coping with major storms and other extreme weather events.
“Unless the global community takes bold steps now to transition away from a high-carbon economy,” he said, “we are facing unthinkable harm to our habitat, our infrastructure, our food production, our water supplies and, potentially, to life itself,” Kerry said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether this is money that has already been promised in other aid packages.
Meanwhile, activists dressed as Yoda and Storm Troopers stood in front of the mini red Eiffel Tower replica outside the COP21 conference Wednesday in one of many authorized protest stunts around the talks.
They're part of a push by the global citizen's movement Avaaz, which advocates for governments to abandon oil, gas and coal in favor of renewable energy.