The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 31 March 2014 the second volume of its fifth report on climate change. Entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, it calls for political decisions to curb the effects of climate change. The IPCC press release is available here.
Following this release, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the following statements:
The second volume of the IPCC [Fifth Assessment] report confirms the grave risks hanging over mankind if nothing is undertaken to curb the effects of climate disruption.
As the IPCC experts confirm, the climate is a matter of urgency, but nothing is inevitable. Solutions exist. They involve adapting our economic models to the demands of sustainable development and speeding up the energy transition.
France, which will have the responsibility of hosting and chairing the 2015 Paris climate conference, is making every effort to build a new global pact on the climate committing the international community to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released in Yokohama the second volume of its report on the effects of climate change.
This report again demonstrates the risks facing humanity if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change.
The work of the IPCC panel indicates however that this situation is not a foregone conclusion and that there are solutions. These involve large-scale initiatives aimed at transforming our economic and social models and adapting them to respond to the requirements of sustainable development.
France will play a full role in this. We are fully mobilized to ensure that the 2015 Paris Climate Conference is successful and that it allows us to reach a global and ambitious agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gases.
The 19th Conference on climate change took place in Warsaw (Poland) from November, 11 to 22, 2013. Many progresses were implemented during those two weeks. More information regarding the main issues of the Conference is available here (in French).
Please find the common statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius (French Minister of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Philippe Martin (Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy) and Mr. Pascal Canfin (Deputy Minister for Development) below:
Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Martin, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, welcome the conclusion of the conference in Warsaw,during which France was appointed chair of the 2015 Climate Conference.
The Warsaw conference allows us to take an essential step toward reaching a universal agreement on climate change in Paris in 2015 thanks to the EU’s persistence. All states must declare their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions before the Paris conference so that they can be assessed in the first half of 2015.
This conference also made it possible to make progress on providing support to the most vulnerable countries through a deal on climate financing. In addition, an agreement was adopted on institutional arrangements relating to the loss and damage suffered by developing countries as a result of climate change.
2014 must be the year in which we aim to effectively fight climate change which is already costing too many lives. The countries must make commitments to limitingtemperature increase to below 2°C. Exchanges at the conference confirmed to us that most of our partners are ready to make commitments. France is mobilized and will spare no effort to ensure the success of the 2015Paris Climate Change Conference.
The 18th conference on climate change took place in Doha (Qatar) from 26 November to 7 December 2012. More information regarding the main issues of the Conference is available here.
Following the conference, the Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman made the following statement, about the final agreement :
“The agreement reached on December 8 at the conclusion of the Doha conference includes advances that are modest but essential to ensuring continued international commitment to combating the threat of climate change.
France, represented by Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Delphine Batho, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, and the European Union underscored throughout the conference the lack of efforts to combat climate change and the need to make further progress with respect to the environmental transition in order to reduce greenhouse gases.
The EU and France committed in Doha to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, thus extending this agreement on reducing greenhouse gases until 2020. Efforts must be made over the next few years to raise the level of ambition of the emission reductions in order to limit global warming to less than 2°C.
The final compromise will also make it possible to strengthen efforts to mobilize $100 billion by 2020 to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries. A work program should make it possible to increase the amount of funding to combat climate change. In this context, France will devote a portion of its tax on financial transactions to funding the fight against climate change, notably within the framework of the Green Climate Fund.
The agreement also identifies a work program to develop a global agreement that will apply to everyone from 2020. At the Doha conference, France reaffirmed its proposal to host the Conference of the Parties in 2015 which should lead to this new global agreement.”
The 17th conference on climate change took place in Durban from 28 November to 11 December 2011. It was preceded by preparatory conferences, from 3 to 8 April 2011 in Bangkok and from 6 to 17 June in Bonn. More information regarding the main issues of the Conference is available here (in French).
Following the conference, the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry Spokesman made the following statement :
" The 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol ended in Durban on the morning of Sunday, 11 December 2011 with a success guaranteeing the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
Following the conference, the parties agreed on a set of four texts which consolidate the multilateral system and pave the way for a comprehensive agreement bringing together all states:
— a decision of the conference makes provision for a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period to begin on 1 January 2013 for a duration of five years;
— the Durban Platform adopted in accordance with this decision sets in train a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an outcome with legal force in the framework of the Convention applicable to all its parties. To this end, it creates an ad hoc working group whose work – which is to start before mid-2012 – will have to be completed by 2015 in order [for the legal framework] to take effect as of 2020. The aim of this ambitious process will be to strengthen greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets to limit effectively the rise in our planet’s average temperature. Among other things, it will draw on the next IPCC report and the results of the 2013-2015 review;
— The agreement reached in Durban also enables the decisions taken in Cancún to be implemented. In particular, the conference gave the go-ahead to the establishment of the Green Climate Fund, which by 2020 will help raise the $100 billion per year promised by the developed countries to help developing countries in their efforts against climate change and its effects.
France welcomes this agreement. It should make it possible to make the international system for fighting climate change more ambitious. This success is the result of the South African presidency’s wise conduct of the negotiations. France, along with the European Union, will continue to shoulder all her responsibilities and remain the main initiator of proposals against climate change. "
On the eve of the Bonn preparatory conference, on 6 June 2011, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs made the following statement:
"The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its next session in Bonn from June 6 to 17. This is the follow-up to the 14th session of the Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention and the 16th session of the Working Group on the Future of the Kyoto Protocol which began in Bangkok in April 2011.
The challenge of these sessions lies in making progress in a balanced manner on all components of the negotiation, while maintaining our openness to the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, implementing the agreements secured at the Cancun Conference and preparing the decisions to be adopted at the next UN Climate Change Conference in Durban (November 28 to December 2, 2011).
As during the recent meetings in Bangkok (April 3 to 8), several workshops were devoted to the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of developed countries and the specific actions of the developing countries. Several informal meetings will also take place on the sidelines of the negotiations, notably the meeting of the “REDD+ Partnership” on safeguarding tropical forest basins which France co-chairs with Brazil.
This new session will allow France to signal its commitment and its determination to making its climate change policy and its participation in global climate negotiations one of its strategic priorities. Following the G8 Summit in Deauville, which signaled its determination to continue its efforts to conclude a global agreement, France is, together with its European partners, determined to work towards implementing the decisions adopted at the Cancun Conference.
Serge Lepeltier, Ambassador responsible for climate change negotiations, will lead the French delegation."
The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference held from 29 November to 10 December 2010 in Cancun (Mexico chairs the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention) ended on 11 December 2010.
On 13 December 2010, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs made the following statement:
"The 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place from 28 November to 11 December in Cancun (Mexico) and concluded successfully. After two weeks of negotiations, one year after the Copenhagen Conference, the 194 Member States of the United Nations Framework Convention adopted several decisions on the post-2012 regime to fight against climate change.
The Conference’s main challenge was to ensure the adoption of the Copenhagen political accord by the United Nations Framework Convention, and to decide on the follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol for which the first commitment period ends at the end of 2012. There was a need to restore confidence in multilateralism and demonstrate the capacity of the UN system to achieve concrete results.
The emissions reduction objectives for the industrialized countries for 2020 now come within the scope of the Climate Convention and a system to register and monitor the actions of developing countries has been implemented.
The objective of limiting the long-term global temperature increase to 2˚C also comes within the scope of the Climate Convention, and includes the possibility of increasing this objective to 1.5˚C in 2015.
The need, established by the Copenhagen Accord, for emissions to peak as swiftly as possible is also reaffirmed by the text, with commitments by countries to specify a date for this and to develop low carbon strategies.
During the last few hours of the negotiations, the Mexican presidency, unanimously commended for its management of the debates, managed to secure the approval of several key decisions.
— The Copenhagen Accord is now integrated in the Convention on Climate, and several of its recommendations can now be implemented;
— The Green Climate Fund to support projects, programs, and the policies of developing countries was established together with its governing bodies;
— A committee focusing on climate change adaptation was established to guide the actions of developing countries;
— Establishment of a Climate Technology Center to develop expertise on new green technologies in developing countries;
— The mechanism to combat deforestation was launched.
France was represented by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, who successfully conducted informal consultations on the technology component of the Cancun Conference conclusions, at the request of Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Foreign Minister of Mexico and President of this conference.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs welcomes this ambitious agreement and pays tribute to the exceptional quality of the Mexican presidency which allowed us to mark a new stage in the climate negotiation process. This result allows us to confidently envisage an agreement on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol at the Durban Conference in 2011.
This conference strengthens France’s commitment and determination to make its climate policy and its participation in the global climate negotiations one of its strategic priorities. For the record, France will honor its financial commitments, made in Copenhagen, of €412 million per year under the early financing program which will extend until 2012."
The Framework Convention was adopted during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force on 21 March 1994. It is one of the three major Conventions that emanated from the Earth Summit, along with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. More information regarding the issues related to the Convention here (in French).
Security Council debates
The Security Council met for the first time in April 2007, at the initiative of the United Kingdom, to address the issue of climate change as a threat to international peace and security. This meeting made it possible to increase the members’ awareness of this issue, but did not result in the adoption of a text.
On July 20, 2011, the Security Council met for a second time with respect to the issue, on the initiative of Germany under its presidency of the Security Council, for a public and open debate in the presence of the Secretary-General and Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program.
In his speech, the Permanent Representative of France reaffirmed the critical importance of the issue and stated “My delegation regrets the fact that the Council is not currently able to adopt a joint position on the implications of climate change on peacekeeping and international security (…). Today’s debate is only a first step. It should be a call for action for all of us at the United Nations. The climate threat demands that we take action, in the short term first of all, in order to ensure the success of the Durban Conference and then the Rio Conference, in the medium term to prevent conflicts that may arise as a result, and in the long term in order to save the planet. My delegation is convinced that the Security Council must revisit this issue and that it will be able, in the future, to speak with one voice. This isn’t an exaggerated ambition, just recognition of the sad realities that await us.”
At the end of the debate, the Security Council members were finally able to agree on the adoption of a presidential statement. The fact that it was possible to reach a unanimous agreement on this issue is in itself a remarkable step forward. This is one more step in the right direction following the debate in 2007 and the UNGA resolution of 2009 (see below). France regrets, however, that it did not prove possible to reach a consensus on a more ambitious presidential statement that was commensurate with the magnitude of the threat and the importance attributed by the Council to effective and comprehensive conflict prevention strategies.
Yesterday, the Presidency of the Security Council adopted a statement on the implications of climate change on international peace and security.
France is convinced of the need for the Security Council to be involved in this area.
France welcomes the fact that the Council has instructed the Secretary-General to take the implications of climate change for international security into account in its reports, notably when they relate to the implementation of the Council’s mandates and peacebuilding efforts.
The Security Council must in effect ensure an integrated approach in responding to the risks and have a better understanding of the vectors of conflict associated with climate change. At the same time, it must take into account the impact of its own actions and decisions. Peacekeeping operations alone produce emissions of more than a million tons of CO2 per year and can contribute to the depletion of scarce resources in vulnerable regions where they take place. France welcomes the first steps taken by the UN Secretariat to limit this impact. These efforts must be maintained and strengthened.
The General Assembly looked into the issue of climate change and security for the first time in 2009. On June 3, 2009, the UNGA adopted, by consensus, resolution A/63/281, co-sponsored by more than 100 countries including France, on “Climate change and its possible security implications.” For the first time, all members of the United Nations recognized that climate change constituted a challenge for international security. The adoption of this resolution represented an achievement for the “Small Island States,” - notably in the Pacific - that were behind this text.
The organization of the 21st Conference on Climate Change in Paris in 2015 does illustrate the key role played by France in facing climate change issues. The President of France set innovative and major goals during the 68th session of the General Assembly (September, 24, 2013) as well as in his opening speech (in French) of the Second National Environmental Conference on Ecological Transition (in French) (September, 20, 2013).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius outlined French foreign policy focus on climate change. He insisted on French determination to act internationally on this theme in order to promote an efficient and collective response. He reiterated the French position during the World Economic Forum in Davos (January, 24, 2014) and in the statement he made (in French) during the Annual Conference of the French Federation for Sustainable Energy (February, 6, 2014). A successful Paris 2015 Climate Conference is key to the French Foreign policy. So, the Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in the illumination of the Eiffel Tower in honor of the Paris 2015 Climate Conference.
France aims to promote sustainable cities all around the world. French firms are internationally recognized for their commitment to and expertise in urban sustainability. To build a coherent French platform regarding sustainable cities, the Ministries of Foreign Trade (in French) and Finance helped launch VIVAPOLIS. This common platform brings together the expertise of many French small, medium and large firms. More information regarding VIVAPOLIS is available here (in French). Following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth report on 31 March 2014 (in Yokohama, Japan), the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the French willingness to reach a comprehensive and ambitious agreement in 2015.
29 January 2014 - Columbia University : “facing the challenges of climate change : how to achieve a global deal in Paris in 2015 ?” - Speech by Mrs. Marie-Hélène Aubert, Senior Policy Advisor to the French President for International Environmental and Climate Change negotiations
24 September 2013 – Statement by the President of France during the opening debate for the 68th session – United Nations General Assembly
15 February 2013 – Security Council “Aria Formula” – Security impact of climate change – Statement by Mr. Jacques Lapouge, Ambassador for Negotiations on Climate Change (in French)
20 July 2011 - Security Council - Maintenance of international peace and security: Impact of climate change - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
11 January 2010 - General Assembly- Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the UN
Climate change section on the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
French Embassy to the US gateway on climate change
Website detailing climate aid pledge to help developing countries