Paris talks kick off

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

COP21: Obama says Paris climate talks ‘could be turning point’.

New York: Bill Gates and some of the world’s other richest entrepreneurs have joined governments from both rich and emerging countries to kick off the Paris climate talks by pledging billions of dollars of investment in clean energy technologies.New York – Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, and fellow philanthropists have revealed details of a fund for clean energy technology to be used in countries that have committed public money to double research and development. Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, will be joined by at least 27 other private investors in the so-called “Breakthrough Energy Coalition”, including Africa’s richest man, Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote; Alibaba Group chairman and founder Jack Ma; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman. His country is the fifth largest emitter in the world and the fourth most populous country, consisting of 17,000 islands, where 60% of citizens live in coastal areas.

US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Mission Innovation initiative on the first day of the UN climate summit in Paris. In making investments, the coalition will “take the risks that allow the early stage energy companies” to bring their ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace, according to an emailed statement from the White House on Sunday. They will appear alongside Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, who will launch a complementary private-sector effort to fast-track early-stage clean energy technologies. Offering his condolences and pledging solidarity with the people of “this beautiful city” Mr Obama said: “We have come to Paris to show our resolve … to protect our people, and to uphold the values that keep us strong and keep us free.

In the public component of the plan, known as “Mission Innovation”, each nation has vowed to double their budget for the sector over the next five years. The twin initiatives will be formally announced on Monday, the opening day of United Nations talks on climate change in Paris scheduled to run through December 11. The investors want to eliminate the “valley of death” between the early promise of a new energy concept and commercializing it into a viable technology, which “neither government funding nor conventional private investment can bridge,” the group said in a statement. Widodo says they will achieve their ambitions through reallocating fossil fuel subsidies, increasing the proportion of renewables in the energy mix to 23% by 2025 and by converting waste to energy.

Speaking ahead of the opening of the talks Mr Kenny said while Ireland secured a unanimous commitment by the European Council last year that its dependence on agriculture would be acknowledged in the calculation of EU emission targets, this was now being interpreted differently by the commission. And in the US, meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have vowed to fight a deal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents coal-mining state Kentucky, called a “house of cards” that will punish low-income Americans.

He recalls that the government has established a moratorium on new permits for peat land – sought after by companies looking to create new plantations, for example for palm oil. Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly, who will travel to the conference later in the week, on Monday said he was optimistic an agreement on how to reduce emissions would be reached among the counties in attendance. He said Ireland would put forward a package that takes account of the importance of agriculture, which accounts for about 29 per cent of emissions, to the country’s economy.

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told reporters the administration will seek congressional support for the extra $5 billion. “We know we’re going to have to drive down the costs of technology deployment and maybe even create some new technologies,” said Jake Schmidt, international programme director at New York-based environmental group Natural Resources Defence Council, who has been briefed on the partnership. “The idea is to show that these countries and these entrepreneurs are going to step up their effort to help speed up the kinds of emissions cuts we’re going to need,” Schmidt said by phone on Sunday. He also said Ireland will be making additional contributions to the United Nations Climate Fund, on top of the €2 million already pledged for 2016, in the years ahead. If these talks fail to produce an agreement, the world will be left without an international commitment to prevent dangerous levels of global warming. Moniz said the idea to come up with a bold R&D plan has been “bubbling now in the last few months” but accelerated in the weeks before the Paris summit. China, the world’s largest emitter, petro-states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, EU countries, Canada, Indonesia, Korea and Japan are among the other signatories.

Mr Holland told the assembled leaders and delegates at the opening ceremony that France had put all of its energies into reaching an agreement in Paris. “Your presence here is a sign of hope,” he told world leaders. Poor nations must receive particular help, he urged. “We must reaffirm our commitment that the resources will be there [in financial assistance for the developing world]. We must make sure these resources [of climate finance] fall to countries that need help … and help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate related disasters.” A cause for hope, he said, was that a sense of urgency was growing among nations, as well as an increasing realisation that it is within our power to tackle climate change. We need a universal, meaningful and robust agreement.” Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister who is hosting the talks as COP president, said: “Future generations cannot hear us, but in a way they are looking at us now.” David Cameron, the UK prime minister, also urged action.

Leaders will spend most of the rest of the day in private meetings with one another, aimed at ironing out remaining differences and creating an atmosphere of diplomatic cooperation in which a deal can be brokered by the UN. The Paris conference is seen as crucial, as its failure would in effect bring to an end to international efforts under the UN to control greenhouse gas emissions. Later, British prime minister David Cameron is expected to set out his personal commitment to tackling climate change, pledging support for poorer countries that are likely to suffer most from extreme weather. Mr Cameron will tell the conference he wants “a global deal for a global problem”, with a robust legal framework that would ensure the targets are met.

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