France says progress made toward UN climate agreement

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2015 11:05 AM

PARIS (AP) — A step forward has been made toward reaching a climate change deal at a U.N. conference in Paris next month, the French government said Tuesday, following a three-day ministerial meeting to prepare the talks.

"There is still significant work to be done but success is indispensable", French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a news conference.

He said senior officials from 70 countries gathered in Paris agreed on the principle of a mechanism to reassess the countries' emission pledges every five years in order to improve them.

They also stressed that a minimum amount of $100 billion should be spent every year on climate change issues.

The Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference will gather 196 parties to reach an agreement aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) between pre-industrial times and the end of the century.

"It is possible, it is necessary and it is urgent" to come to an agreement, said Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. climate agency. "I do hear today from the ministers a renewed call to act now because of the urgency".

At least 117 world leaders have accepted the invitation to come to Paris to speak on the conference's first day, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to French authorities.

In a separate event at the Elysee palace on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande met with five African leaders to prepare the climate conference.

"The question arises whether we are able to deal with the big issue of climate and at the same time to develop Africa", Hollande said in a news conference.

One key issue to be discussed in Paris is how rich countries can provide financial and other support to help the poorest countries reduce emissions.