France regrets ‘unfortunate’ Kerry remarks on climate summit: minister

France regrets ‘unfortunate’ Kerry remarks on climate summit: minister

VALLETTA - Agence France-Presse
France regrets ‘unfortunate’ Kerry remarks on climate summit: minister

AP photo

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius expressed regret on Nov. 12 over reported remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the Paris climate summit will not deliver a binding treaty requiring countries to cut carbon emissions.

“I think that it’s a formulation which could have been more fortunate,” Fabius told journalists on the sidelines of the EU-Africa summit in Malta.

“I saw my friend Kerry yesterday. Things must be very clear,” Fabius said.

Kerry, interviewed by the Financial Times, said: “It’s definitively not going to be a treaty... They’re not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto or something.” 

Kerry was referrig to the 1997 Kyoto protocol committing states to limit emissions.

The UN Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting of some 100 heads of state and government, which opens in the French capital on Nov. 30, aims to secure a deal to stave off catastrophic levels of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The nations most at risk have appealed for a stricter goal than limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, which the vulnerable nations say will still leave one billion people at risk of rising sea levels and other dire impacts.

A recent report on the concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prepared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) revealed that these gases had hit a new high in 2014, warning the resulting climate change was moving the world into “unchartered territory.”

WMO’s report, which does not measure emissions of greenhouse gases but rather their concentrations in the atmosphere, showed that CO2 had risen to 397.7 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere last year.

That was 143 percent of levels prior to the year 1750, WMO said, adding that CO2 concentrations would likely pass the ominous 400-ppm threshold in 2016.