Hollande seeks 'binding' climate pact with promises on cash

24th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

A "binding" climate agreement with assurances of cash for developing nations will be the measure of success for a UN summit starting in Paris next week, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday.

"The solution will be found in finance," Hollande told L'Express magazine on how to avoid deadlock at the summit tasked with curbing dangerous climate change.

"It will be a kind of revolution if the near-totality of countries in the world approve a binding agreement including obligations and commitments on finance," he said, invoking France's 1789 revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man it spawned.

More than 145 world leaders are set to gather in the French capital Monday to launch the 12-day conference.

The 195-nation UN climate forum is negotiating a universal pact to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above mid-19th century levels, and lock in financial support for poor and vulnerable countries most exposed to rising seas, superstorms and crippling drought.

How much money, and where it will come from, have emerged as make-or-break issues at the fraught talks, which are entering their third decade.

"The emerging countries -- India, Brazil, China, South Africa -- do not want the fight against global warming to restrain their economies," Hollande told the weekly.

"We have to construct a system that can provide them with finance and access to new technologies to shorten the fossil energy phase" of their growth, he said.

Developing nations -- including India, the world's third-biggest country emitter -- have made CO2 emission curbs and greening their economies contingent on financial aid, especially for technology.

China, the world's biggest carbon polluter, has set no such condition. Indeed, it has become a donor, pledging $3.1 billion in aid.

Hollande said world leaders should approach the fight against climate change and the Islamic State -- responsible for the worst terrorist attack in French history, with 130 killed and hundreds injured on November 13 -- "with the same urgency."

The French president, who was to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington Tuesday, also said the two issues are linked because drought and hunger are exacerbated by climate change.

"Even if we solve the problem of Syria, we will still be confronted with the migration of millions of people forced to move because they can't cultivate their land," he said.

"This disorder can engender new conflicts."

© 2015 AFP

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