International Conference on Climate Change
The issues of COP17
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Durban from 28 November to 9 December. It marks an important new step in the climate change negotiations: after last year’s successful Conference in Cancún, this year the 195 Parties to the Climate Change Convention have gathered together under the South African Presidency. The Conference will start with negotiation sessions of the Ad-Hoc Working Groups under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, and subsidiary bodies. It will be concluded, as always, by a ministerial-level segment.
Several circumstances make this Conference particularly important :
Firstly, the international community, despite its efforts since Bali in 2007, Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancún in 2010, has not yet managed to set up a new regime to fight climate change which would limit global warming to no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial era. The latest scientific assessments confirmed once again that halving global emissions by 2050 remains an essential and urgent target.
Durban will allow us to preserve, gear up and improve the tools which have been devised since 1992, with the Kyoto Protocol at top of the list. It should also help set up new efficient mechanisms, whether they be economic and financial, or technological, in order to speed up the reduction in global emissions. Durban’s other main goal will also be to allow the international community to move towards a new comprehensive climate agreement by setting out a roadmap which would ensure the commitment of all parties, in particular of all major emitters, which is essential in order to meet the 2°C requirement.
Further, the harmful effects of climate change are already making themselves felt, especially in the most vulnerable countries. In this regard, Durban will aim at consolidating the currently insufficient measures taken to meet the challenge of adapting to climate change, by using more resilient development models.
In this context, France’s goal will be to help establish new energy models. It is the aim of the Paris-Nairobi Climate Initiative; launched with Kenya, on access to energy in the most vulnerable countries. This project should be regarded as a contribution to an “African COP17”.
Lastly, one of France’s major concerns in Durban will be to ensure that the essential commitments made during the latest rounds of negotiation will be fulfilled. Among these commitments, long-term financing stands out, with the objective of mobilizing US$100 billion per year as of 2020. Much work has already been carried out to this end outside the regular framework of the UNFCCC, in the wake of the French G20 Presidency’s initiatives in favour of innovative sources of finance for development.
At the Durban Conference of Parties, France will use its best endeavours to contribute to the creation of an ambitious global regime against climate change. It will insist on the immediate establishment of provisions to restrict greenhouse gas emissions, while pleading for enhanced support to the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Joint article by Alain Juppé, ministre d’état, minister of foreign and european affairs, and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, minister for ecology, sustainable development, transport and housing, in the daily newspaper «Le Monde».