Tech-sharing key to success of climate summit: France

4th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that sharing emissions-cutting technology with emerging nations like India and China will be a key part of the "success or failure" of climate change talks in Paris next month.

Hollande made the call on a visit to South Korea, the first by a French head of state in 15 years, where he is looking to bring Seoul on board as a "very useful" ally in securing a global climate deal in Paris next month.

He flew to South Korea after a visit to China, where he reached what he described as a "historic" agreement that the international deal on tackling climate change to be negotiated in Paris should include checks on compliance.

The November 30-December 11 conference, to be attended by at least 80 world leaders, seeks a single global agreement, with the goal of capping warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

At a climate change and green growth round table in Seoul, Hollande stressed the critical importance of sharing emissions-cutting technology with emerging countries like India and China.

"It's not just about fixing norms and limits, but also about taking a big technological leap, and not being scared to share technology," he said.

"To my mind, that is what will decide success or failure," he added.

Several countries, including India, have said they want assurances of finance and clean-energy technology transfers from richer nations to adapt to a new, climate-altered world.

- Climate talks go-between -

Hollande is hoping South Korea, which hosts the Green Climate Fund -- the global fund created to spearhead climate change financing -- will act as a go-between in negotiations on whether developed or developing countries should bear more of the burden for reducing emissions.

The French president said the negotiations would begin before the Paris conference, with leaders of the G20 group of leading industrialised and emerging economies due to meet next week at a summit in Turkey.

"Success in Paris needs to be secured before Paris, and that's why I thought it was necessary to stop over in Seoul," Hollande told the round table.

South Korea has made significant efforts to boost its green credentials in recent years, and in January became the first Asian country to set up a carbon emissions trading exchange.

The country, Asia's fourth largest economy, is among the world's top-10 carbon emitters, but in June it finalised a 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from business-as-usual (BAU) levels -- higher than its earlier plan for a 15-30 percent cut.

- China coal consumption shock -

While Hollande was in Seoul, it emerged that China has likely been under-reporting its coal consumption for years, after official statistics were revised upwards by hundreds of millions of tonnes a year.

The updated figures suggest that Chinese emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are bigger than previously thought, but Hollande stressed Beijing's commitments to reductions still stood.

He also noted that the statistical revision showed the importance of the compliance checks agreed to during his trip to Beijing.

"It will allows us to be even more vigilant," he said.

Among EU countries, France is the second-largest investor in South Korea and Hollande's visit was also aimed at boosting economic ties, especially in the IT sector, with a particular focus on Korea's burgeoning start-up community.

Earlier this year, Google opened its first Asian start-up "campus" in South Korea, which boasts some of the world's fastest broadband speeds and highest smartphone penetration rates.

Hollande held talks with President Park Geun-Hye and both leaders signed a number of accords to boost cooperation in a number of fields, from tourism, to education and transport.

His visit also saw European aircraft maker Airbus formally sign deals with South Korea's two largest airlines for the delivery of 55 of its fuel-efficient, single-aisle A321neo passenger jets, with a total catalogue price of $6.8 billion.

© 2015 AFP

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