France calls for prompt climate declarations at Berlin talks | News | DW | 18.05.2015
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France calls for prompt climate declarations at Berlin talks

France has urged world nations to publish their climate-saving targets by October, well ahead of crucial December treaty talks in Paris. France issued its call in Berlin at preparatory talks involving 35 nations.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told representatives in Berlin on Monday that only 37 countries had presented plans to limit their impact on the world's climate, adding that it was essential that "everyone, starting with the rich countries" submit by an October 30 deadline.

The situation is dramatic. It's urgent that we act," Fabius said.

Declarations awaited from all 196 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) could seal the fate of a new climate agreement hoped for in Paris in December, to replace an ineffective agreement reached in 1997 in Kyoto.

December's Paris conference aims to limit emissions of gases blamed for climate change, part of a bid to prevent average global temperatures from rising by any more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels.

'Petersberger Klimadialog' in Berlin

Berlin's informal two-day gathering is part of the "Petersberg Climate Dialog," named after the Petersberg hill on the outskirts of Bonn, where the process was launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010 in the wake a contentious 2009 Copenhagen climate summit.

Opening the Berlin talks on Monday, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks (pictured above with Fabius) said the world needed a "climate neutral economy" by the second half of the 21st century, despite many interests working against it.

Echoing Hendrick's call that no country should suffer too much in pushing for such goals, Fabius said a key aspect of December's treaty would be financial support for developing countries so they could mitigate climate change effects.

Hendricks said climate change impacts were already evident in many impoverished countries, including worsening drought and flooding.

"We know that the impacts of climate change affect poor regions and countries in particular," Hendricks said.

World at crossroads

Addressing conference guests at his Berlin residence on Monday, German President Joachim Gauck said the world was at a crossroads. More funding and courage was needed to meet the goals, he said.

Canada, which pulled out of the Kyoto framework in 2011, formally declared its new target for Paris on Friday, saying it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 - compared to its levels in 2005.

That was criticized as insufficient by the World Resources Institute, which said Canada's goal was "significantly lower than that of the EU and US. Critics also pointed to emissions expected from Canada's expanding oil sands industry.

America is targeting 26 to 28 percent less by 2025. The EU has a target of 35 percent by 2030.

Preparatory talks in Bonn, G7 summit

Further talks ahead of the Paris summit include a major UN preparatory conference in Bonn in early June, to be followed by a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) nations in Bavaria. Germany currently holds the G7's rotating presidency.

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are due to attend the second day of the Berlin talks on Tuesday.

ipj/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, epd, Reuters)

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