French President warns of collapse of climate talks in Paris


With barely three months to go before the Paris global climate summit, France’s President Francois Hollande has warned that the talks will fail unless the world leaders pushed harder for reaching an agreement for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The message of the French president was pointed: it’s time to get the act together or risk millions of new refugees fleeing climate disaster.

“There is a risk of failure. If we don’t conclude [with a successful agreement], and there are no substantial measures to ensure the transition, it won’t be hundreds of thousands of refugees in the next 20 years, it will be millions,” said Mr Hollande in Paris on September 7.

The high-stakes climate change negotiations talks have not made much progress at a meet in Bonn, and now all eyes are on the meeting of world leaders in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September to provide the requisite political traction for the deal.  Climate finance is a major issue that could determine the outcome of the talks and if developed countries don’t assist poor countries then the talks could breakdown at COP21 (Conference of Parties) in Paris. Against this backdrop, many are hoping for progress in the talks when world leaders meet at the UNGA summit to adopt the new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. It is expected that the leaders could instruct their negotiators to clear roadblocks coming in the way of a potential Paris agreement.

Mr Hollande has invested much political capital for a successful outcome in Paris where countries will meet in the hope of reaching a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to come into force from 2020. Developing countries were promised at the Copenhagen talks that they would receive an assistance of US$100 billion to help reduce carbon emissions and cope with the effects of climate change. However, there has been no decision or agreement on what would happen to the financial assistance after 2020, which is a major point of contention in the talks.

Till the major issue of climate finance post 2020 is addressed, a final deal at the mega global climate summit in Paris could prove to be elusive. Unless of course, there is progress in the talks in the upcoming UNGA session before the final talks in December in Paris.

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