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March 6, 2021
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Risk of clash, failure at Paris climate summit: French envoy

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Image: French environmental activist and special envoy for the protection of the planet Nicolas Hulot speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office at the Hotel Marigny in Paris, France, September 8, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau


By Bate Felix and Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS (Reuters) – Countries suffering the worst effects of climate change will not be content with empty promises at the Paris summit in December and the meeting could end in failure unless they are satisfied, President Francois Hollande’s envoy has warned.

France will host the summit where some 200 countries are expected to agree to keep temperatures below a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

But Nicolas Hulot, Hollande’s Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet, said countries most at risk from rising sea levels and extreme weather also want firm commitments from richer countries to fund efforts to limit global warming.

“I have warned everyone. Words will not be enough. Promises will also not be enough,” he said in his office across the road from the Elysee palace.

Hulot, 60, has embodied the environmental movement for a generation of French people since he began as a reporter some 30 years ago, focusing on nature and environmental issues.

He was appointed in 2012 by Hollande to bolster support at home and internationally over the need for agreement in Paris.

Although there has been some progress ahead of the summit compared with a meeting six years ago in Copenhagen – which ended without agreement – nothing has been decided and the risk of failure could not be excluded, Hulot said.

The slow pace of preparatory negotiations last week in Germany, on everything from target cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to raising funds to aid developing nations, has raised concerns.

“I would say we could head towards a clash. If the nations that are suffering the most are not reassured, we could be heading towards a clash at the conference,” Hulot told Reuters in an interview.

A key issue is the reticence by some emerging nations to commit themselves to any emission target until they are assured that developing nations will receive $100 billion per year from 2020 to help them adapt to the impact of climate change.

Hulot said most promises that were made in Copenhagen were not respected.

“Countries that are suffering the negative consequences of climate change will no longer feed on promises because they doubt the sincerity of richer nations to honor those promises,” said the man who has advised three French presidents.

“So, before the summit, these countries need to know clearly where the money will come from. What kind of funding will they get and how will they access it,” said Hulot, warning that failure in Paris could have dire consequences.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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