France not to bow to fear and cancel COP21

The recent terrorist attack in Paris will affect the conference, but France will stand up with other countries and work on finding out an agreement. The French Ambassador to Bangladesh Sophie Aubert shared her views on COP21 in an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune’s Meer Saiful Islam

What are the security measures for around 40,000 guests to be there in COP21 in the wake of the unfortunate attack on innocent people in Paris?

Aubert: My government decided not to give up before fear and to maintain COP21. Of course, priority will be given to the negotiators because they have to find out an agreement in order to protect our future.

The events taking place in closed areas will be maintained. But some initiatives due to take place in open places will be cancelled. It is essential not to take risks and to keep the situation under control of our security forces.

Will the incident anyway affect the event?

Aubert: Of course the horrible terrorist attacks against not only French citizens, but citizens from many foreign countries will affect the conference. But we must stand up and keep on working. We must adapt our mindset to the global threat and act accordingly, considering that these terrorists are a reality, that we are at war with them, but that we will never give up and that we will join our forces to protect ourselves and to eradicate them.

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To what extent you are hopeful about the success of COP21?

Aubert: I hope that the right decisions will be adopted at COP21 because it would be a shame for our political leaders and heads of state if they refused to find out a global agreement in order to protect our children from the biggest disasters our humanity has ever faced. The entire global society is conscious of the consequences of a failure of COP21 for peace and development, there will be no option but to achieve a global consensus in Paris.

The text for a legally binding agreement is there, finalised a few weeks ago. It has to be definitely approved in Paris.

One hundred and forty-six countries had presented their national contributions by October 30, which was the deadline to have one’s contribution taken into account at COP21. The effort they show is not sufficient to maintain the increase of global temperature below 2°C by the end of the century, compared to the pre-industrial era; but I understand that initiatives would be taken in Paris, in order to go back to the right trajectory – for example, France should propose the review of the contributions every five years with the obligation to do more every time in order to be more efficient in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

I think that climate finance mobilisation will be confirmed.

Civil society is mobilised worldwide and will be in Paris to put pressure on the negotiators.

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Unlike previous events of COP, this time the heads of states will take part in the first segment of the conference. Why? Will a political package come out of it?

Aubert: COP21 will be opened by the heads of state on November 30. This choice was made by the French Government, with the aim to give the last political impulsion before the final negotiations.

Will the climate finance concerns be resolved in Paris successfully?

Aubert: French and Peruvian finance ministers held a ministerial meeting to address the climate finance issue at the latest IMF and WB assemblies, which took place in Lima last October. At this occasion, several reports were presented regarding green funds mobilisation. According to the OECD report, $62bn were mobilised in 2014 in favour of climate finance from North to South. If we consider the commitments of the development banks for the future, so far, it appears that we are on the right trajectory to achieve the target of $100bn by 2020.

What are the possibilities for a road map of post-2020 finance in the context of the larger picture?

Aubert: One of the challenges of this COP will be the increase of finance mobilisation to address climate change, before 2020 but also after 2020. This means that all the countries will have to increase their ambitions. This is also why my government will suggest, among other proposals, a review of the national contributions every five years. In my view, we must understand that we will have to create a new global energetic model. The main idea is not only to have new funding to face climate change but also to redirect our global finance towards new technologies and projects in order to improve our capacities of adaptation, but also to mitigate the impact of climate change. This means that not only public funds, but also private funds will have to be mobilised with the aim to create a new society.

There are terms about a Long Term Goal under the Paris agreement such as de-carbonisation and climate resilience being used. Where does France stand on this?

Aubert: Last 17th of August, 2015, France adopted a new law dedicated to energetic transition. This law doesn’t oppose one source of energy against the other one, but it shapes complementarity among all the sources of energy, in order to develop a new energetic model.

The principle is to pave the way to a green growth model, to promote innovation and new technologies and therefore to contribute to maintain the increase of global temperature below 2°C and even less, by the end of the century. For example, we now know how to build infrastructures producing more energy than the level they need to absorb in order to function. New technologies can shape a new world and this law will accelerate the transition of my country towards a new model of society.

Is there anything surprising Paris would offer the delegates?

Aubert: Paris will host people from all over the world and Paris will offer to the world the best of itself. COP21 will be the biggest event we have ever welcomed and it will symbolise the victory of our humanity over those who want to destroy our way of life, our values and our civilisations fond of mutual respect, progress, development and peace. 

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