Climate disruption "a matter of urgency" - François Hollande

Climate disruption – Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at the Climate Summit

New York, 23 September 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

We think we have time, but today it’s a matter of urgency.

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere broke a new record in 2013. Climate disruption is no longer a hypothesis, it’s a certainty. Warming threatens peace and security. Climate disruption is behind more population displacements than are caused by wars.

So everything must be done to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions radically, so as to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2ºC.

Everyone knows these figures.

Our duty is to put together a development model for the next 30 years, to let the peoples of the world have access to goods and, at the same time, to protect the planet.

We’re aware that it’s a considerable challenge. Everyone remembers the failure of Copenhagen. Today we have an obligation to succeed. The 2015 Paris conference must enable us to achieve a global agreement, an ambitious agreement that can ensure we reach what’s called carbon neutrality – that is, greenhouse gas emissions compatible with the planet’s absorption capabilities.

This agreement requires international mobilization to achieve a legal framework that will be the common rule and be adapted to different levels of development.

The French presidency, after the Peruvian presidency – and here I pay tribute to President Humala. It’s very important for us to be able to win this battle and ensure an agreement can be reached.

At this very moment, the French Parliament is discussing a bill on the energy transition that fixes the energy savings to be achieved by 2050, envisages reducing French emissions by 40% and indicates a 32% target for renewable energy by 2030.

Europe is also doing its duty and will adopt a plan at the European Council at the end of October.

But here I want to emphasize France’s responsibility, because we must not only set the example, not only host this conference, but be capable of making the gestures and sending the signals that are expected of a country like France.

That’s why, for us, the Green [Climate] Fund is an entirely new prospect, which should be extensively financed. France will contribute to the tune of $1 billion over the coming years to the capitalization of the Green Fund.

The Green Fund will be able to help countries invest in the energy transition. The Green Fund will be a considerable opportunity for companies to move towards the energy transition. The Green Fund will also be an opportunity for growth. The Green Fund will be not only a sign of solidarity but also a lever for ensuring the global economy can commit itself to a new development model.

France is lending its full support to the alliance formed around the United Nations Secretary-General, between governments and all the players: economic, social, civil society, the many demonstrators and the world’s young people, who are expecting a great deal of us, because they know that what is decided here concerns them above all.

We must arrive at a solutions timetable enabling us to provide a practical illustration of the agreement that will be signed, I hope, in Paris.

Ladies and gentlemen heads of government,

President Humala and I have shouldered our responsibilities. We want the foundations for a future agreement to be laid in Lima, and then, in Paris, we want to be able to translate those commitments into legal actions.

If I wanted to sum up my remarks: it’s a race against time – not just against climate that could devastate the planet. No, against the time that is ticking by. Are we capable of controlling time? Are we capable of controlling space? Are we capable of controlling nature? Are we capable of controlling ourselves?

So let’s not let time decide for us. Let’s also be capable of delighting the world again, of giving the world’s young people the hope that they’ll live better than us.

Paris is a symbolic city: a symbol of freedoms, a symbol of human rights. In December 2015, I’d like Paris also to be the symbol of change for the climate./.

Last modified on 28/01/2015

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