Arab Times

‘Considerab­le task is ahead’

Progress made


PARIS, Nov 11, (AFP): Ministers and negotiator­s from more than 75 nations have made headway in talks ahead of a crunch UN climate summit but “the task ahead is considerab­le”, France’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

Laurent Fabius, who will preside over the Nov 30-Dec 11 conference in Paris, told journalist­s the three days of talks, which ended Tuesday, had been an important step and “progress has been made on at least five points”.

But he warned “the task ahead is considerab­le”. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres added: “It continues to be entirely possible to come to an agreement... despite all the challenges in front of us.”

Fabius announced that 117 heads of state and government — including US President Barack Obama, China’s Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi of India and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — have confirmed they will attend the summit, tasked with inking a pact to stave off dangerous levels of global warming.

Draft A rough draft of that hoped-for agreement has been drawn up by rank-and-file diplomats, with ministers set to sign the final deal at the end of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris.

The deal will be underpinne­d by national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels blamed for climate change.

The “pre-COP” meeting sought to identify areas of potential compromise on issues still dividing nations and so avoid a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen summit which ended without a binding global pact.

Fabius said there was momentum towards ensuring that countries ratchet up their efforts to slash carbon pollution beyond pledges submitted ahead of the summit.

“Areview should take place every five years ... to prepare an upward revision of national plans,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil exporter, filed its climate pledge on Tuesday, saying up to 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year would be “avoided” by 2030.

Current national plans would yield average global temperatur­es three degrees Celsius above preindustr­ial times — far beyond the 2 C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) limit that scientists say is the threshold for dangerous warming.

“The COP21 will put in place the mechanism to close the gap,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s environmen­t minister, told AFP. “Getting to 2 C depends on boosting our ambition.”


Promises Enshrining the principle that nations would not be allowed to backtrack on their carbon-cutting promises is also gaining ground, Fabius said.

Another make-or-break issue on the table in the three-day talks was money for developing nations to help them decarbonis­e their economies, and shore up defences against unavoidabl­e climate impacts.

“Climate finance was very central” to the discussion­s, said Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of the Environmen­t and Energy for the Maldives, one of many small island states whose very existence is threatened by rising seas.

“Adaptation is a matter of survival for us,” he told AFP. “Nobody wants to leave the Maldives, we are there to stay.”

African leaders said they were looking to the talks for solutions to electrify the continent, grow its economies and keep their young people from fleeing abroad.

Former US president Bill Clinton, whose Clinton Foundation seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said Tuesday an upcoming UN climate summit in France will be useful, though “no big agreement” is likely. “I don’t expect some big agreement. But I do think as a result of the meeting there will be more investment in energy efficiency and more investment in clean energy and that’s a good point,” he told reporters during a visit to Panama to inspect a rural project sponsored by the foundation.

“I honestly don’t know what will happen,” he said of the Nov 30-Dec 11 summit in Paris that will be attended by President Barack Obama and 116 other heads of state and government.

“I can’t go this year. But I think that all these meetings are helpful because people who actually can make decisions encourage each other to do things that work,” Clinton said.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait