Chairman of the UN climate talks and Former French foreign minister urges rapid ratification for Paris Agreement

07 July 2016 | Mitigation

Former French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has issued a rallying call for governments around the world to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.

The former president of the UN climate talks said governments must now "accelerate the process of ratification of the Paris Agreement" – and called on European nations to lead the way.

Last month France became one of the first European nations to ratify the treaty, although full ratification can only be confirmed once the rest of the EU's 28 member states do the same.

He also urged business leaders present to maintain the momentum created by the Paris talks. "The Paris Agreement marks a turning point in this transition which is critical for the survival of humanity," he told the audience. "But the task of implementing it remains substantial. Like you, with you, I will continue to mobilise my energies towards these goals."

Fabius, who was crowned Politician of the Year at last night's awards, separately called on business and other non-state actors to ensure work accelerates on climate initiatives launched at the summit. "Concrete initiatives which were launched at the COP21 must rapidly be transformed into action," he said, calling for the urgent implementation of high-profile initiatives such as Mission Innovation.

He warned that the path to implementation would not be smooth, acknowledging the risks of "blockages and back-pedalling". But, he said, "the spirit of Paris then must live on".

"For that to be so, it is crucial for universal mobilisation to be maintained. Not only states, but all the non-governmental actors, businesses, local government and civil society," he said.

"I know that all of you here are not just convinced of the need to act, but are yourselves the movers of change. You know that combating climate change is not just a challenge, but also an opportunity. Switching to green growth, to a new, lower-carbon economy, to new sustainable development that will create jobs and show respect for future generations," he added.

Fabius' remarks follow similar comments from Christiana Figueres, who this week stepped down from her role as executive secretary of the UNFCCC. Speaking in a short video message, Figueres said optimism about our ability to tackle climate change had grown in recent years, alongside the momentum behind climate action.

"With a long-term goal of climate-neutral growth and an acceptance that we must aim to limit global warming to as close to 1.5°C as possible, the transformation we will witness over the coming months and years will be truly amazing," she said. "We live in a great moment in history. It is a moment in which we are shaping our future," she said.

"Each of us has a role to play in ushering in this new era of growth. I ask you to recognise your responsibility. Step into the solutions space and join me and the many people working to meet the climate change challenge."



SOURCE: Business Green