France's Hollande says climate talk promises must now become action

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2015 5:26 PM

By John Irish

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday he was encouraged by promises made by leaders at the U.N. General Assembly to reach a climate change deal in Paris in November, but said those words now had to be turned into concrete action.

Hollande, who co-chaired a meeting of leaders on climate change on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, said that while there had been progress in the last few months, there remained a "great deal of work" to get a credible agreement.

"If I look at the intentions, they are there. The statements, they are there, but from this awakening and the desire to seal a deal in Paris and the conditions to ensure it is credible ...there is a still a lot of work."

The United Nations has said that talks were on track for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit, although much still needs to be clarified about everything from cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to raising aid to developing nations.

"I haven't met one head of state who has said he was against an agreement so I could assume that we are sure of succeeding," Hollande told reporters.

"Everyone is convinced that there will be an agreement in Paris, but what accord and with what type of ambition? In Paris, it is not about signing just a text, but a text that commits us for decades, that concerns all countries with a legal weighting and that every five years we can evaluate what has been done."

Hollande said heads of state had agreed to come to the Paris climate talks on the first day, Nov. 30, to ensure that "we are capable of signing an agreement at the end of the conference."

The plans submitted so far to the United Nations by about 80 nations represent 75 percent of world emissions and are deemed too weak to keep temperatures below the agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times needed to avoid the worst effects of warming.

Some emerging nations do not want to commit themselves until they are assured that developing nations will receive $100 billion per year from 2020 to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Hollande said this was vital for reaching a deal and that he expected key nations to make announcements during the U.N. General Assembly and to move towards this after meetings in Peru with ministers and financial institutions and the G20 before Paris.

"We have to accelerate," Hollande said.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)