Lima summit will help make Paris 2015 a success - Minister

Climate disruption/Climate Conference – Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at the closing plenary session of the COP20

Lima, 14 December 2014

Mr President, cher Manuel,

First of all I’d like to congratulate you on this great success. I think it’s clearly due to all those who are here, but you’ve shown what an effective president can do and you’ve set the bar very high. I’ll attempt, very modestly, to get close to it.

I wanted to speak for a few moments – first of all to day quite simply that we’re going to prepare things to welcome you all in the best possible way [to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference].

I noted in all the speeches that the delegates emphasized that they wanted great success in Paris. I’m going to let you into a secret: so do I! If we hadn’t reached the decision we’ve taken this evening, things would have been much more difficult. But as we all know, there’s already a lot of work to do between now and December next year to resolve the issues that are still outstanding.

Manuel Pulgar Vidal has shown us the path to a good presidency, which requires ambition, a listening ear and a spirit of compromise. Those are the three watchwords France will follow.

It’s a considerable responsibility and honour to host a COP, especially when people repeat that the main decisions that are going to have an impact on the future will have to be taken in Paris. We’re aware of this responsibility and this honour, and we’re going to try and live up to them.

I’d like to add one point that strikes me: when the work we’re doing here is talked about, you hear things outside that are sometimes unfair, as if we’re taking pleasure in proliferating complicated discussions that go on forever. But all the people here have devoted part of their lives, and even their whole lives, to the climate issue, to ensure millions of people worldwide can live better. I think this message, which is the real meaning of the work we’re doing here, must get through outside.

One final word. We’re all mindful of what happened in Copenhagen. I think that, thanks to the work of you all and the decision taken this evening, the spectre of Copenhagen is fading and the hope of success in Paris is growing closer. We owe this to all of you, and France will do everything possible to welcome you in the proper way. Thank you./.

Climate disruption/Climate Conference – Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at the plenary session

Lima, 10 December 2014

Mr President, dear colleagues, two minutes, two ideas:

The first is urgency. I’m struck by the fact that, when you talk to the public, the issue of climate disruption is often perceived as requiring a solution in the long term. No. That’s not true: it’s urgent. The people in the Philippines who have undergone several tornados in the space of a few years – they can’t wait. The people who have contracted AIDS or Ebola because deforestation has released viruses that existed in forests in the latent state – they can’t wait. And so that’s the first theme: urgency.

The second theme is hope. I’m also struck by the fact that a few years ago, when we met at conferences, there was scepticism, and today it’s exactly the opposite. Everyone is saying: “in Paris it will most likely be a success”. I’m delighted by this, but we still have to create all the conditions for success. The fact that the United Nations Secretary-General – who must be thanked – made a success of the September summit, that Europe reached a very important agreement, China and the United States too, and that the Green [Climate] Fund has been capitalized – all this is very positive. I’m also delighted by what the various parties have said to ensure we can reach an agreement which aims at the short term and the long term, which is transparent and fair, which makes room for adaptation, and where there’s cooperation between state actors and non-state actors.

All this is very true, but – and I’ll conclude with this – I’d like to make an appeal for us to reach the right compromise in Lima, because we’ll do the maximum to give you a good welcome in Paris and try to succeed, but I’d like to finish by saying that the best way of achieving success in Paris is to begin with success in Lima. That’s in the hands of you all, my dear colleagues.

Thank you./.

Climate disruption/Climate Conference – Press conference given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (excerpts)

Paris, 10 December 2014


Q. – Among the issues to be resolved, which are the ones that absolutely must be resolved in Lima, in your view?

THE MINISTER – We must be clear about what we’re asking for in the national contributions (INDCs). Moreover, the survey I had our embassies carry out – to find out who intends to make their contribution and when – is quite positive. Clearly it’s not a firm commitment, but by asking our diplomats to make inquiries we already arrive at significant cumulative figures. (…) We must be fairly clear about what there is in the contributions. There’s the well-known debate: do we include adaptation or not? Actually, those who want to include it will do so. I’m waiting for Lima to provide a number of quite clear indicators on this. That’s one point.

There’s another point: the two co-presidents are currently preparing a text, and my colleague Manuel [Pulgar-Vidal], the Peruvian President of the COP, is going to help them. So we’ll most likely have a pact. Now clearly, the fewer caveats we have the better That’s an important point.

There are also a whole series of factors, particularly on differentiation, but I think we must make progress while not putting the various parties involved into a situation of deadlock, because that’s what everyone I’ve spoken to has told me: “you’ll see, there are things which can’t be decided like this in terms of principle now, but which will be resolved over time”.

There you are, there are those factors, and there are also the ones which concern what we’re going to do before 2020; that’s an important point because we’ll be more credible in the eyes of quite a few delegations if we don’t wait until 2020 to act. So there’s a discussion there; I don’t know what will emerge from it regarding what we can do quickly, but speaking for the French delegation I think it’s desirable for us to be able to implement things before 2020. (…)

There are a whole series of engagements: January, February, March – three meetings already planned of the Durban Platform (ADP). I myself will be meeting former negotiators, because I think it’s very interesting to see how they negotiated, what lessons they’ve learnt during the different conferences that have taken place. There’s a whole series of gatherings on finance. There’s the political dimension; everyone says it, but this must become more political – yes, no doubt, but we must avoid what was a mistake in Copenhagen, namely that the heads of state are the last to arrive, everyone thinks that in one night they’re going to resolve the problems and they don’t, so we have to find a timetable. We have time to think about this.

And we must also have contacts with all countries and continents, whether it be this continent, Africa or Asia. Incidentally, we’ve had some nice surprises in this regard; I don’t know if you heard the statement by my Australian colleague – I think they’ve donated $200 million. (…) There are changes taking place that will have to occur little by little. We must be very careful, because the presidency must remain genuinely impartial and try to facilitate things. Mme Ségolène Royal is leading the French delegation and explaining France’s position within Europe, and I have a different role. (…)./.

Climate disruption – Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France 2

Paris, 4 December 2014


Q. – What are you expecting from the Lima Climate Conference?

THE MINISTER – Three watchwords: urgency, ambition, hope.

The urgency is the issue of climate disruption. Scientists and everyday observation show that there’s increasingly serious climate disruption due to what are known as greenhouse gases. If we don’t reverse the trend, it’s going to be extremely serious, i.e. increasing hot weather…

Q. – Is it possible [to reverse the trend]?

THE MINISTER – It’s possible, provided that greenhouse gases are limited, and this is a matter of urgency; it can’t wait 50 years. Once greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere you can’t get them back, they accumulate. This means that sea levels rise, it’s incredibly hot, there are climate extremes, it’s very difficult to feed ourselves, there’s migration and insecurity. So it’s a matter of the utmost urgency!

The second watchword is ambition. In Lima this year, and above all in Paris next year, the goal is to reach a global agreement, 195 countries saying what we’re going to do to prevent this temperature rise, with practical measures in the various industries etc.

The third watchword is hope. Until now, there have generally been failures. You may remember Copenhagen… Here, there’s a different trend – China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, have committed themselves. Europe has made a commitment. In France, there’s the energy transition act. So we’re hoping that in Paris, where the biggest diplomatic conference ever organized by France will be held, we’re heading for success; we hope so, we’re working on it. It’s very difficult but I’m making every effort to succeed. (…)./.

Dernière modification : 23/09/2015

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