Fights against climate change, terrorism linked, says France’s Hollande
REUTERS photoThe fights against terrorism and global warming are closely linked, French President Francois Hollande said on Nov. 30 as more than 150 world leaders met in Paris for the United Nations Cop 21 climate change conference two weeks after deadly Islamist militant attacks in France’s capital.
“I can’t separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming,” he said at the opening of the talks. “These are two big global challenges we have to face up to, because we have to leave our children more than a world freed of terror, we also owe them a planet protected from catastrophes.”
The heads of more than 150 nations - a record - kicked off 12 days of talks in search of an elusive pact that would shift the world economy away from its heavy use of fossil fuels blamed for global warming. They gathered at a conference center in Le Bourget on the northern outskirts of Paris, swathed by heavy security following terror attacks in the city.
Hollande reiterated that a deal to try to keep any further increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius needed to be “universal, differentiated and binding,” with richer countries contributing more than poorer ones.
“Never have the stakes of an international meeting been so high, because it concerns the future of the planet, the future of life, and yet just two weeks ago right here in Paris a group of fanatics sowed death in the streets,” said Hollande. “We are at breaking point.”
After decades of struggling negotiations marked by the failure of a previous summit in Copenhagen six years ago, some form of landmark agreement appears all but assured by mid-December.
U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech pledging American commitment and urging others to do the same.
“The United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem but embraces its responsibility to do something about it,” Obama said, as he warned “the hour” of being too late was near.
Obama had earlier met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, bringing together the leaders of the two biggest carbon emitters, to highlight a partnership on climate they began to forge last year.
In his speech, Xi reasserted China’s pledge for its carbon emissions to peak by 2030. But he also insisted rich nations shoulder comparatively more of the responsibility in curbing global warming.
“Addressing climate change should not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty and improve their people’s living standards,” Xi said.
Erdoğan says roadmap until 2030 ready
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey had made its roadmap until 2030 to combat global climate change, adding that “a just, effective and inclusive agreement needed to be reached” at the Paris conference. Erdoğan added that the main responsibility should be taken by developed countries.
The United Nations has hosted annual conferences to address global warming since 1995, but its efforts have stumbled on divisions between rich and poor.
Many poor nations insist rich countries bear the most responsibility for tackling the problem because they have burnt the most fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution on their way to prosperity.
President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-third over the next 15 years compared with 1990 levels - although the fall in Russia’s economy since 1990 means that it could still increase its current emissions.
Since Russia’s economy has shrunk sharply compared with the Soviet-era high reached in 1990, it will still have plenty of room for increasing its current emissions while keeping them low compared to the 1990 level.
Putin also said that a future global climate deal must include commitments from both developing and developed countries.
Scientists warn that without urgent action to curb greenhouse gases, mankind will suffer worsening droughts, floods, storms and rising seas, threatening millions with hunger, disease and migration. Low-lying island nations would face oblivion.
In his speech to the summit, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lashed out at “miserly” developed nations that wanted to “burden us with cleaning up the mess they themselves have created”.
Bolivia’s leftwing president, Evo Morales, blasted capitalist greed for setting the planet on a path to doom.
“If we continue on the path trod by capitalism we are condemned to disappear,” Morales warned.