France's Royal to head U.N. climate talks after Fabius quits

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2016 5:18 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - French Environment Minister Segolene Royal said on Wednesday she would take over the presidency of U.N. climate talks, seeking to implement a global deal reached last year to shift away from fossil fuels, after former foreign minister Laurent Fabius quit.

Royal said she had accepted a request from French President Francois Hollande to serve out the U.N. presidency, lasting until the next annual meeting of 195 nations on global warming in Marrakech in Morocco, in November.

Fabius, who won praise for chairing a Paris summit in December at which all nations agreed to curb their greenhouse gas emissions to limit rising temperatures, quit the foreign ministry last week to head France's constitutional court.

Royal told iTele television that she would work to ensure that all countries "ratify the agreement, sign this agreement, implement the decisions in their domestic policies to permit a fight against global warming".

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a meeting in New York on April 22 opening the Paris Agreement for signatures, a step toward formal ratification.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama's climate envoy, Todd Stern, said Washington would sign the Paris agreement regardless of a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week to put a chunk of Obama's environmental action on hold.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Alister Doyle; Editing by Hugh Lawson)