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2015 Paris Climate Conference

2015 Paris Climate Conference

Published on November 28, 2015

Interview to Le Journal du Dimanche
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference, to the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche
Paris Committee meeting/9.00 p.m
Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of COP21
Meeting of the Paris Committee/3.00 p.m
Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference
Solutions for Climate
Ségolène Royal signs an agreement for green growth with governors of California, Washington State and Vermont
Agenda of Solutions/Global Geothermal Alliance with Iceland, Kenya and IRENA
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Joint press briefing with the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
Statements by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference
India/flooding
Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference
The Climate challenge and African Solutions
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Global Geothermal Alliance
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
The Climate challenge and African Solutions
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Carbon pricing
Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
Launch of the International Solar Alliance
Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
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Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference, to the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche

Paris, December 13, 2015

Q. – Were the negotiations tougher than you’d thought?

THE MINISTER – As I’d led the negotiations for months, I wasn’t expecting an easy ride. Securing agreement between 195 countries with very different positions and situations, on major issues that affect their development for decades, is an extraordinarily complex task. But overall, things went ahead calmly and constructively. Some moments were tenser than others, but the determination of everyone, including my team, to reach an agreement enabled us to make progress and finally succeed.

Q. – How did you finally wrest an agreement?

THE MINISTER – From the outset of this COP21, I believe I gained everyone’s trust by being true to the method I’d announced: listening, transparency, ambition for the agreement and a spirit of compromise. It wasn’t the Presidency on one side and the parties on the other: I wanted us to move forward together towards our shared goal. It was essential for each country to feel not only heard but listened to and understood. That was an essential condition for enabling trust in the work and then, at the end, compromise.

Q. – Were there any moments when you told yourself it wouldn’t work?

THE MINISTER – I believe in determination and work. I always had confidence, even when the negotiations were progressing less quickly than desired. There was special “momentum” in Paris. We saw it in particular with the presence of 150 heads of state and government at the opening [ceremony] with François Hollande, and with the exceptional mobilization of civil society – local authorities, businesses and non-governmental organizations. The conditions for a global agreement were all there: we didn’t have the right to pass up this unique opportunity; collectively we had to live up to our responsibilities.

Q. – When did you understand that this COP would be a victory?

THE MINISTER – In climate negotiations people often say: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” So I never wanted to show excessive optimism. I always believed we had to wait for the final approval to be able to talk about success. Right up until the very last moment, it was difficult. This global climate agreement is a subtle, patiently-constructed balance resulting from a considerable number of consultations with countries and negotiation groups: we achieved it only in the very final straight.

Q. – On the podium, you were moved; you’re rarely seen that way. Why the emotion?

THE MINISTER – Yes, I was very moved. The term “historic” is often over-used, but in this case it’s justified: this Paris conference is a page in history. It’s rare to experience such moments. To see a whole hall stand up to celebrate a success the world had been waiting for so long was a very powerful moment. In particular, my thoughts were also with all those who dedicated their lives to the climate cause and who were unable to see that day.

Q. – To whom do we owe this success? To you? To François Hollande?

THE MINISTER – It’s a collective success. The French President played a strong and active role in enabling success: his commitment was decisive. For my part, as President of the conference, I did constant and meticulous work for months, with the whole government and a very competent team of climate negotiation experts led by our negotiator, Laurence Tubiana, as well as those who organized the hosting at the Le Bourget site: everyone did an exceptional job. French diplomacy played its role to the full. The success of COP21 is a team victory!

Q. – Has the planet really been saved?

THE MINISTER – The agreement adopted is a turning point, but a lot of work remains – and first of all implementing it. The target is to contain warming to 2ºC by the end of the century, and even strive to limit that increase to 1.5ºC. This Paris agreement contains the main advances we thought would perhaps be impossible to secure. It doesn’t resolve all the problems, but it defines powerful rules for action. It enables a turning point towards global development with low greenhouse gas emissions, based on sustainable lifestyles and using the tools necessary for adapting better to the impact of climate disruption. The framework is there; the action must follow.

Q. – Isn’t the target of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5ºC a wish that’s impossible to achieve?

THE MINISTER – Admittedly it’s an ambitious target, but it’s central and even vital. For many countries, particularly island states and the Least Developed Countries, warming of 2ºC would in itself have dramatic consequences. Through the agreement, the IPCC scientists are given a mandate to prepare a report by 2018 on how to achieve this 1.5ºC target. In terms of climate action, we must set ourselves ambitious targets, but they may seem hard to achieve at the time. One example: when we decided collectively at COP20 in Lima in December 2014 to call on countries to present “national contributions” for acting against global warming, few people were counting on success. But 186 out of 195 countries presented theirs, which covers more than 96% of greenhouse gas emissions! There’s fresh momentum.

Q. – But why such a late initial review, in 2023, when it’s a matter of urgency?

THE MINISTER – An initial collective assessment of states’ commitments will actually be made in 2018. States will evaluate their progress, with a view to preparing or updating national contributions. This will provide the opportunity for a new stage in strengthening our collective ambition.

Q. – $100 billion-worth of aid to developing countries has been announced for after 2020. But how can this amount subsequently be increased?

THE MINISTER – In the global fight against climate disruption, finance is key to confidence. We’re going to move forward in successive stages. The text provides for a new financial target to be set no later than 2025. It is clearly stated that developed countries have a special responsibility to provide financial and technological support to developing countries. The agreement encourages other states, for example the major emerging countries, to make voluntary contributions as well.

Q. – There’s no mention of leaving behind fossil fuels and a carbon economy. Was this prospect too ambitious?

THE MINISTER – The agreement sets a long-term target on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. In practice, this will be equivalent to carbon neutrality in the second part of the century. Also provided for is a peak in emissions as soon as possible. Regarding energy choices, the agreement leaves member states free to make their own decisions, but explicit reference is made to the importance of renewable energies, particularly for increasing access to sustainable energy in developing countries, particularly African ones.

Q. – What are your best or worst memories of this COP?

THE MINISTER – I have only good memories – except perhaps the sleepless nights! I travelled so much around the world for this great cause that I was nicknamed “Climarathon Man”. The most vivid moment I’ll remember witnessing and feeling has to be the one yesterday, with all the representatives of the world’s countries standing to applaud the adoption of the agreement. Such a moment of global harmony injects a powerful, exceptional spirit of optimism for the future. I’ve been very lucky in my life to have been able to contribute to it./.

Paris Committee meeting/9.00 p.m

Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of COP21

Le Bourget, December 10, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends, welcome to our Paris Committee session.

Yesterday evening, we held an important session, in which each group and party had an opportunity to give its reaction to the draft text which I had submitted to you early in the afternoon. Your feedback was useful and enabled us to clarify the content of what I hope will be our final agreement.

At the close of yesterday evening’s Paris Committee, and in line with the proposed method, I chaired a meeting in “Indaba” format in order to transparently and inclusively continue the consultations on the three major cross-cutting issues of differentiation, financing and ambition. In parallel, our colleague and friend Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, as well as ministers whom I had appointed as facilitators, were conducting other consultations on several important issues: loss and damage, cooperation measures, the preamble and forests.

At the same time, throughout yesterday night, the French Presidency listened to the opinions of the groups and parties, as part of the “constant availability” provided at my request by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Ambassador François Delattre.

It was a long and intense night’s work. I know that it required efforts from every one of you. But having seen all the work that has been done, I note that it has enabled us to make progress. I would like to thank the many ministers, heads of delegation and negotiators for their involvement. I also know that after those meetings, you continued to hold discussions in order to reach compromise proposals, of which you informed us. And I would like to emphasize that it is largely down to your commitment that these discussions have, from the outset and as everyone agrees, taken place in a constructive atmosphere.

After this important work over the last few days and the whole series of meetings which I have conducted here, I believe that on the eve of the planned close of our conference, we can take a decisive step towards our final agreement. It is for this reason that in a few moments I shall be submitting to you a new version of the draft text, which the Secretariat will provide you with in this room, at the documents counter and on the UNFCCC website.

As you will see, this draft builds on the version submitted to you yesterday, and which you accepted as a basis for our work. We have taken into account as faithfully as possible the opinions expressed at our Paris Committee meeting yesterday evening, the discussions held as part of the “Indaba” meetings last night and the consultations which took place at the same time by the ministers working as facilitators.

The text makes a series of choices. When making them with the Secretariat and in liaison with the facilitators, we made sure we were balanced and impartial and tried to reconcile each party’s positions as best we could. We made these choices when we realized that the discussions were leading to quite a clear compromise. This draft is thus shorter than the previous version and decides between several options, but a few specific points remain in square brackets, namely the most complex points regarding differentiation, financing and ambition, for which there is no alternative but to hold a final discussion in the hours ahead. On these issues, it leaves our options open as I do not yet feel there is sufficient agreement.

I invite you to examine this new version from the perspective of our final agreement.
All of us here are experienced negotiators and political leaders and we all know that compromise, by definition, means giving up each party’s ideal solution in order to achieve what is desirable for all. This is exactly what is required of us today. We want an agreement. We are on the brink of achieving it. So in the remaining hours, we must show the necessary sense of responsibility to find common ground between all of us. It is time for a conclusion.

To this end, having reflected on the situation, I would like to propose that we proceed as follows. When this Paris Committee meeting ends, you will need sufficient time to study the new draft, so I propose that two and a half hours be set aside for that purpose, in groups or in whatever format you wish. After that, we will continue our consultations in a format similar to that which we adopted last night: from 11.30 p.m., I will chair a new “Indaba” meeting, which this time will exclusively focus on seeking compromises – which I will call an “Indaba for solutions”. There will be no general speeches in the room, but rather presentations of compromise wording on the points which remain open for discussion in the text which you will receive in a few moments. What is important now is to find areas of convergence. If there are difficulties on a particular point, I will ask one of my facilitator colleagues to gather the relevant heads of delegation in a quiet corner of the room or in an adjacent room, with an obligation to return with a solution within a given time period, between 30 and 45 minutes. This compromise wording will then be presented in Indaba format. So this working method demands that you show a sense of responsibility. It will, I hope, meet the requirement for results set by the heads of state and government at the opening of our conference. It will combine the necessary transparency and the effectiveness which, at this stage, is especially crucial. Furthermore, I would like to remind you that Ambassador François Delattre will remain at your disposal for the duration of our work.

Based on the progress made on the text as a whole this evening and tonight, I believe that tomorrow I will be able to submit my final proposed text to the Paris Committee.
I hope you will find this to be an appropriate working method. In the next few hours, it must help us to take those final few steps separating us from the universal, legally binding, ambitious, balanced, fair and sustainable agreement the world is waiting for. We must do it, and we can do it. And I believe, dear friends, that we will succeed.
Before closing this session, I am pleased to announce that all members of the open group of legal and linguistic experts have been appointed and that the group was able to begin work early this afternoon on articles 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 23, 25 and 26 of the draft agreement.

Thank you all.

As there are no objections, this session is now closed./.

Meeting of the Paris Committee/3.00 p.m

Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference

Le Bourget, December 9, 2015

Dear friends, I am now opening the session.

Welcome, all of you, to our new meeting of the Paris Committee. We are starting this session slightly late – please forgive us, as we had a long night of work. As I announced yesterday, in a few moments the secretariat will distribute a new version of the draft agreement and draft decision, which we have planned to adopt on Friday.

As agreed, this text is based on the ADP draft presented to the COP on Saturday. It also incorporates both precise and more general recommendations from the facilitators, and I would like to thank them a great deal because their work and their contributions are invaluable. It also draws on the suggestions and experience of the ADP co-facilitators, as we decided it should be so.

The ministers and heads of delegation who have facilitated talks on the various themes have worked intensely – albeit very swiftly – with you to identify possible compromises and the political choices that remain to be made. I would like to thank them – and all of you – most warmly for these efforts.

The text that will be submitted to you in a few moments aims to reflect the emerging compromises faithfully. The rule is not to pre-empt the settlement of the most political points, and to maintain a balance between the various options that remain open in the text. The aim of the text is to enable us to have an overview of the progress that has been made and to concentrate on the open issues that still need to be settled at political level.

We have therefore taken care to map out the progress and convergences that still need to be built. We will now have to continue talks on this basis to find real compromises that will allow us to conclude the legally binding, ambitious, balanced and durable agreement we are calling for.

This text is not, of course, the final version of the agreement, and there must be no ambiguity on that point. It is possible, moreover – I warn you – that it still contains certain imprecisions or errors of interpretation. If so, please excuse us. We will, of course, be able to remedy such points.

This text is a step forward compared to Saturday’s ADP text. It is shorter, with 29 pages instead of 43, including the draft agreement and draft COP decision. Compared to the previous version, the number of bracketed points has been reduced by three-quarters – yes, that’s right, three-quarters. So that is a lot better, but it is still too many.
On several subjects, we have nearly finished our efforts, thanks to the constructive engagement of the parties:

- a compromise has been identified on capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation, based on national needs;

- the work is almost concluded on the major subject of adaptation to the impacts of climate change. That will allow us to focus on the issue of loss and damage, an issue on which I understand that views have come closer together;

- we are also very close to concluding on the drawing up of the transparency framework, which will be essential to enable climate action efforts and support to be followed up;

- we have moved forward together significantly on technology development and transfers;

- lastly, some initial progress has been made on the issues of forests, means of cooperation, and the preamble.

On all these subjects, upon which the parties have built consensus in recent days, we therefore propose a text that I will colloquially describe as “clean”. Of course, the rule amongst us is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

However – and I want to be transparent, as I have always been – certain major political points still need to be decided. They have now been very clearly identified. I note that three cross-cutting issues in particular will have to be discussed in depth in the coming hours: differentiation, finance and the agreement’s level of ambition. This is no surprise, but now things have been clearly stated. On these subjects, we have tried to offer clearer options that reflect, I hope, the diversity of the positions expressed.

I therefore ask you to intensify your consultations on these issues in particular, to help build compromise solutions rapidly.

Together, we need to make these key choices and strike a balance that will enable us to pursue the objective of our Convention, in accordance with the principles of equity and cooperation.

Dear colleagues and friends, this meeting will be very short, as we planned.

I will sum up the situation in a few words: we have made progress, but there is still quite a lot of work to do. I believe that the best solution, as many groups have asked, is that, in a few moments, I get the text handed out to you, that I adjourn the session and that you then take the time to study this document closely and start consultations – by country or by group, as you wish – immediately after our session. I have been asked to give you sufficient time to meet before I convene our Paris Committee again.
I think the Paris Committee will meet again in the early evening, at 8.00 p.m. It must not be any later, or else your work will be pushed back. You therefore have several hours to study the text. That will, I hope, leave you enough time for your consultations. In our Paris Committee session at 8.00 p.m., you will have the opportunity to express your reactions to the text. I will then make precise proposals concerning the working method but we already need to start preparing to move forward during the night and tomorrow in order to adopt the agreement by the set deadlines.

Dear friends, I know how determined you are to make progress as early as this evening on the points that still need discussion, and I am fully convinced that we can achieve an agreement, but that requires us, more than ever, to unite our forces and be guided by the need for compromise.

So that is what I wanted to say about the method. If you agree, I will now have the text handed out to all of you and adjourn the session. We will resume the Paris Committee at 8.00 p.m., which will be very useful. I think that is the best way forward.

If you agree, I will now adjourn the session so that you can work, each of you and in your groups.

Thank you very much./.

Solutions for Climate/Ségolène Royal signs an agreement for green growth with governors of California, Washington State and Vermont

Paris, December 7, 2015

Ségolène Royal signed three joint statements on behalf of France with Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, and Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont, to promote innovation and technology-sharing in key sectors of green growth.

Ségolène Royal pointed out that “this cooperation between France and several US states will accelerate the creation of non-relocatable jobs and boost investment in the territories that are involved”.

The three statements aim at further intensifying efforts towards climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience, particularly by enhancing collaboration between local authorities. This collaboration will also address the consequences of intense climatic events such as forest fires and floods.

Furthermore, several fields of the energy transition will be subject to common approaches:

- Water management: France and the three US states will share their best practices in the field of water resource management, including agricultural water supplies, flood risk management in basins and rising water levels;

- Transport: France and the three US states will develop technological applications in strategic areas of transport (high-speed rail, zero-emission vehicles, public transport and urban planning);

- Clean energies: France and the three US states will share their initiatives to promote the development of renewable energy, energy storage systems, smart grids and energy efficiency technologies;

- Sustainable construction and cities: France and the three US states will jointly develop innovative projects to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and develop more resilient cities;

- Collaborations at regional and local levels: France and the three US states will further develop joint research programmes related to infrastructure and sustainable urban growth./.

¹Source of English text: Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy website.


Agenda of Solutions/Global Geothermal Alliance with Iceland, Kenya and IRENA

Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy

Paris, December 7, 2015

This morning, Ségolène Royal officially launched the Global Geothermal Alliance with Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland, Judy Wakhungu, Minister of Environment of Kenya and Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

This alliance, that was presented on Energy Action Day of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, will be an opportunity to:

- Initiate new technological cooperation: Ségolène Royal welcomed the agreement that was just announced this morning between the French company ENGIE and the Icelandic firm Reykjavik Geothermal to develop geothermal energy in Mexico.

- Mobilize funding, particularly towards a better management of geological risk: France is already a leader in this field with the creation of the “GEODEEP” guarantee fund to protect investors.

Ségolène Royal pointed out that “geothermal energy is not developed enough, whereas it is one of the concrete and accessible solutions that can be implemented right now to enter a low-carbon economy”.

Ségolène Royal also recalled the ambitious targets set in France in terms of geothermal energy. The “multi-annual programming of energy” that is in the process of being drawn up to implement the strategic guidelines of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act provides for the following:

- a five-fold increase of the production of heat from geothermal energy in 10 years;
- an increase in electricity production from geothermal energy.

The first concrete illustration of this impetus is the announcement this morning of Ormat’s acquisition of the geothermal site Bouillante in Guadeloupe, with a project for a three-fold increase of the production capacity to 45 MW. By replacing fossil fuel consumption this project will increase the share of renewable energy and contribute to the goal of energy autonomy in the French Overseas Territories./.

¹ Source of English text: French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

Joint press briefing with the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (excerpts)

Statements by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference

Le Bourget, December 7, 2015

(…)

It’s the second Monday of the Paris Climate Conference and, as I told the assembly this morning, it’s the beginning of the week I’ve called the week of hope.

I want to briefly highlight the progress since we last met on Friday, before providing some information on the coming days, which Christiana Figueres must have mentioned.

Before that, a word to commend the outstanding success of the “Action Day” that took place in Le Bourget on Saturday. This event confirmed the success of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, initiated at the end of 2014 to mobilize all non-governmental stakeholders with concrete commitments. It showed that the whole world’s civil society is working to preserve our planet. This continues to be shown by a whole series of events within the COP. This is how, immediately after our press conference, I will join colleagues to conclude the spectacular “Renewable Energy in Africa” initiative, which will allow us in very practical terms to mobilize $10 billion by 2020 to provide an additional 10 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity to the African continent by 2020
– so it is a great success.

I’ll come back now to the negotiation of the draft agreement.

Saturday was a key day in this COP21. What we call the ADP group concluded its work and adopted a draft agreement. The co-chairs – whom I congratulated – handed it to me during a plenary session late on Saturday. The deadlines were thus strictly met. This project still contains many options, and this will require significant work in the coming week. But it is progress: we have a new, universally-accepted basis for negotiations, and it is more finished than the text for discussion at the beginning of last week. The formulations are more concise, the number of options has been reduced and I’d say that with this new draft, a step has been taken towards the final compromise.

The other step forward on Saturday was the definition of a method for the organization of work up to the end of the conference.

I proposed – and this proposal was adopted by the parties – establishing a single forum, open to all, in order to hold informal consultations. The aim of these consultations is to move forward on the agreement text and facilitate compromises. The work of this forum, as Christiana Figueres was saying – we call it the Paris Committee, which I will chair – needs to result in a draft outcome and draft decisions. This will then be sent to the formal COP body with a view to adopting it on Friday 11 December.

In order to move forward quickly, I have proposed – this too was kindly approved by the parties – that a series of four informal working groups should be created on cross-cutting issues on whose resolution an agreement largely hinges. The chosen themes are differentiation, ambition, means of implementation – including financing, technology and capacities – and, lastly, pre-2020 action, excluding pre-2020 financing, covered under the means of implementation group.

For each of these four themes, I have asked two facilitator ministers to carry out informal consultations on behalf of the COP21 Presidency. I have also appointed three facilitators on the themes of adaptation and the preamble, and three others whose roles I shall specify this evening.

In total, a team of 14 ministers – whose names you’ve been given – will support my work in the coming days. They come from different groups and geographical regions. They all have the necessary skill and legitimacy to achieve progress on the subjects they are responsible for.

I thank them warmly, because they’ll be doing a major job, working both day and night because we have little time, and in the coming days this team of facilitators will be the ambassadors of compromise.

We met yesterday morning to specify their mandate and set out the schedule. Work on the four cross-cutting themes started yesterday afternoon and is continuing today. Consultations on the other themes will begin very soon, and I will meet the facilitators once a day to discuss progress.

Moreover, the facilitators will set out the progress of their consultations every evening at around 7.00 p.m. to the Paris Committee, which I will chair.

The first meeting will take place today. These sessions should, on the basis of the facilitators’ reports, identify a shared vision on the main points that need to be settled. The aim – if the parties agree to it – is to produce on Wednesday a first overall view of the final agreement.

So the method is clear, the schedule is precise and the goal is set. Now, together, we need to continue working and moving forward. Starting today, the involvement in the negotiations of ministers from a great majority of countries will help provide the momentum needed for political decisions. This came through in the statements delivered by the ministers during the high-level segment which I opened this morning and is being held today and tomorrow.

This week of work is short, and we have few days left to conclude the agreement the world is waiting for. For given the time needed for final legal verifications and the translation into the six languages of the United Nations, it will really be necessary to have a text on Thursday, in order to be able to adopt it on Friday.

Time is therefore limited and much work remains to be done. But I want to emphasize that the general spirit is positive, geared to work, concentration and determination. There is – and this is essential for the continuation of the negotiations – genuine collective will. Now we need to transform that will into a good agreement. That is this week’s job./.

India/flooding

Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference
Le Bourget - December 3, 2015

 

Flooding in India’s Chennai region has taken a tragic toll.

I want to express France’s solidarity with all those affected by this tragedy.

The unprecedented magnitude of the flooding confirms yet again that we no longer have time; we must take concrete and urgent action against climate disruption./.

The Climate challenge and African Solutions

Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Le Bourget - December 1, 2015

 

Among the events at the Climate Conference, we wanted there to be a meeting on Africa and on projects that could galvanize the whole continent. Without bringing together all the African heads of state and government – but their representatives here, through the institutions, will be able to speak on their behalf –, we wanted to talk about three subjects.

The subject of renewable energy, that of adaptation, and finally everything we want to do by means of the Great Green Wall, in particular, and Lake Chad. Those projects are directly linked to this degradation of the climate and to its effects on the African continent.

I’d like to thank all the participants, because we don’t have an assessment to make but we have decisions to take and also finance to ensure.

So first of all there’s the subject of renewable energy. Africa has great potential which remains largely untapped, and the Egyptian President will be able to introduce our discussions on this point, because it’s he who chairs the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.

The African Union and the African Development Bank will also set out their projects because, for us, access to renewable energy – i.e. to electricity – will enable families not only to have light, do cooking and heat themselves but to take part directly in economic activities. France – and I’ll come back to this in my conclusion – wants to make Africans’ access to electricity a major priority, and we’ve already made progress on a number of solutions.

The second subject is the fight against desertification, particularly in the Sahel but not only in the Sahel, and there too we’ll have to act to ensure that agricultural production can be stepped up, that land can be protected and that we can guarantee food security.

To illustrate this challenge – and this will be the third phase of our discussion – we’ll set out actions relating to the Great Green Wall, which is supported by the African Union, but also what we can do for Lake Chad, because we know there’s not only an environmental crisis there but also a security crisis, given Boko Haram’s actions in the region.

That’s what will justify our discussions, ultimately with a shared dimension to all those challenges, namely finance: if there’s no finance there can be no action in these different areas. And that’s where the COP President will have to make the ministers work and where the heads of state should also make efforts to have the highest level of finance and ensure this finance is allocated to adaptation and to the challenges I’ve just described.

Let me hand over to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon.

Global Geothermal Alliance

Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Paris - December 1, 2015

 

This morning, representatives from Iceland and the Comoros, as well as the Director-General of IRENA attended a high-level meeting on the development of geothermal energy.

As a member of the Global Geothermal Alliance, France supports this initiative. Ségolène Royal says that geothermal energy is not developed enough, whereas it is one of the concrete and accessible solutions that can be implemented right now to enter a low-carbon economy.

In order to fast-track the development of geothermal energy, Ségolène Royal supports the following actions:

  • Define clear objectives and the right regulatory framework. The countries of the Global Geothermal Alliance agreed on ambitious targets for 2030 in order to multiply by five the supply of electricity and multiply by two the production of heat from geothermal power.
  • Mobilize funding. This particularly involves developing innovative solutions to manage the geological risk. France is a leader in this field with the creation of the “GEODEEP” guarantee fund in 2015.
  • Develop technological cooperation. On this occasion, the Minister welcomed the cooperation agreements that were signed recently between the French and the Icelandic business clusters. She pointed to the experience of France in supplying heating networks using geothermal resources, especially in the Paris region where about 200,000 households are heated geothermally.

When Ségolène Royal went to Iceland last July and last October in order to accelerate the setting-up of this alliance, she had pointed out that:

  • It is a renewable energy, which produces electricity and heat. It has the merit of not being intermittent nor dependent on seasonal constraints or weather and climate conditions.
  • It is a mature technology ready to be widely deployed right now.
  • It is a solution that can be more competitive than fossil fuel consumption. This is particularly the case in many island areas. The introduction of carbon pricing will increase its competitiveness even more.

The Climate challenge and African Solutions

Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
Paris - December 1, 2015

 

In order to help reaching an ambitious agreement at COP21, the President of the French Republic organized a meeting on 1 December to support African solutions addressing the climate challenge in the Sahel region, in the presence of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

It gave the opportunity to 14 African heads of state and government to present concrete initiatives and to get financial support from other states and development banks that attended the meeting, in order to implement these initiatives. About 20 delegations were represented.

This meeting is a response to a request addressed by Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania, Mr Idriss Déby, the President of Chad, Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the President of the Republic of Mali, and Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of the Republic of Niger.

The projects are:

  • The right for all Africans to have access to electricity,
  • The Great Green Wall project supported by the Pan African Great Green Wall Agency currently chaired by Mauritania,
  • Enhancement of the Niger River Basin, and preservation of Lake Chad.

Africa is the continent that contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is very much affected by the effects of climate change, which represents a real and tangible threat in the daily lives of African people.

Ségolène Royal, head of the French delegation, had prepared this meeting during her tour in Africa last summer to meet with many African heads of state and government and visit emblematic sites, on the issue of solutions to the climate challenge.

France announced its intention to allocate €2 billion towards the development of renewable energy in Africa by 2020. France thus supports Africa to draw the world’s attention to the fight against desert encroachment in Africa (Sahel, Namib, Kalahari) and to the solutions that Africa has developed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Great Green Wall is a large wall of trees from East to West of the African continent as a means to curb desertification. The project shows that mitigating emissions and adapting to climate change are closely related. The Great Green Wall will allow local populations to enrich the soil, preserve water resources, and improve the quality of their lives, while it will also provide a carbon sink.

The preservation and enhancement of Lake Chad and Niger River Basin mainly involve helping the communities who live there and make a living from the lake and the basin. Not only does this environmental decision help fight against desertification and food insecurity, but it is also an economic development opportunity for populations threatened by the rise of terrorism in this region occupied by Boko Haram.

Access to renewable energy will reduce deforestation. It will provide households, even the most isolated ones, with energy for domestic cooking, heating and lighting. It will allow businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities to operate. Promoting green energy is an absolute priority on a continent where 600 million people still have no access to electricity. Mr al-Sissi, the President of Egypt, presented the initiative adopted by the African Union in Johannesburg to mobilize Africa’s potential for renewable energy.

The World Bank has committed a total of $16 billion by 2020. It will support concrete initiatives such as promoting climate-smart farming practices, and developing programmes to fight coastal erosion and programmes to provide financial support to meteorological services.

Carbon pricing

Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
Le Bourget - November 30, 2015

 

On the sidelines of COP21, the President, along with several heads of state, the World Bank, the IMF, local government bodies and business leaders from around the world, has launched a Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

The Coalition’s members adopted a joint action plan to advance carbon pricing, committing to sharing experience of successful public policies, mobilizing businesses, and promoting dialogue to increase the use of carbon pricing.

Carbon pricing is an essential tool to enable economic stakeholders to commit resolutely to the transition towards a low-carbon economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as effectively as possible. The aim is not to fix a single price: the goal has to be to promote the gradual expansion of the coverage of global emissions by carbon pricing.

Existing mechanisms (EU ETS, Indian coal tax, US Clean Power Plan etc.) and future ones (ETS market in China) cover countries representing 89% of the GDP of the G20, or 75% of the global economy, by 2018. So the majority of the most carbon-intensive sectors are, or will very soon be, covered by a carbon price in most of the world’s major economies.

Although it is too low everywhere, carbon pricing is no longer an exception and is starting to become the rule. With the Coalition, we are going to foster and accelerate the adoption of carbon pricing, so that today’s investments create the conditions for more sustainable growth for a long time ahead./.

Launch of the International Solar Alliance

Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
Le Bourget - November 30, 2015

 

Today in Paris Le Bourget, on the sidelines of the opening of COP21, the President of the Republic, M. François Hollande, and the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, launched the International Solar Alliance in the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon.

This launch is the culmination of several months’ work between the Head of State and the Indian Prime Minister, including during Mr Modi’s visit to France in April 2015 and their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

This Alliance, which was instigated by Prime Minister Modi and supported from the outset by the French President, is based on a simple goal: to unite the efforts of developing countries to attract investment and technologies to this sector and to develop the uses of solar energy.

This Alliance will enable cooperation between those industrialized countries which have the technologies and finance, and developing countries.

The strength of this commitment can be seen through the involvement of many heads of state and government.

The negotiations which began today on limiting global warming are decisive for the future of the planet.

Over 100 countries have solar potential, lying wholly or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

This conference must mobilize the international community and create shared momentum to achieve a low-carbon economy.

Developing renewable energies is one of the most obvious ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar energy is the most plentiful source of renewable energy in the Southern countries, but technologies and financing in these areas remain insufficient.

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