France on Friday warned that failure of the Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen could be a “disaster,” and came up with a Climate Justice Plan (CJP) that divided nations into three categories on the basis of carbon emissions. It also proposed a tax on international financial transactions to raise money for a climate change fund.

“Everybody thinks that Copenhagen is endangered and it is going to be a failure, which would be a disaster and would trigger a blame game between nations,” French Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development Minister Jean-Louis Borloo told journalists here. But, he added, his country was keen on avoiding all “arguments, confusion and rhetoric” and was working for a positive outcome at Copenhagen.

Earlier, Mr. Borloo met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and delivered a letter from French President Nicolas Sarkozy on France’s contribution towards reaching an agreement at Copenhagen. He declined to divulge details of the communication.

The Minister said the proposed CJP would cover least developed countries in Asia, African countries and island countries for 100 per cent access to local and renewable energy, and for reforestation and fight against soil erosion; the middle-level countries (such as India) that need to keep growing and curb carbon emissions; and industrialised countries that should work on reducing emissions.

“We need to finance this [CJP] via a tax on financial transactions. A tax that will generate in an automatic way funds up to $500 billion in the next 20 years starting as early as next year.”

The Minister, who had visited Bangladesh and Cambodia and was leaving for Ethiopia, said: “France is travelling the world over to go to people for a better understanding of their problems. The one real danger [at Copenhagen] is to mix up bananas and oranges, private and public [funding], adaptation and mitigation and of putting all developing countries in one basket, which is why we need to distinguish between countries that have no access to clean technology and carbon markets, those that are growing but also need to work on curbing emissions and industrialised nations.”

Asked about the inability of the European Union to come forward with funds to fight climate change, he said, “In fact, we have made a proposal, which we just submitted to India, where we have assessed the financial needs of countries.”

Mr. Borloo said: “What Copenhagen needs is true money and real commitments for success” and industrialised countries should come up with “automatic, regular, annual, predictable and additional funds for a CJP and for developing countries.”

Be candid, India told

On New Delhi’s role at the Copenhagen conference, he said, “India needs to get out of arguments, confusion and rhetoric, and be candid. It needs access to energy; it needs to work on cutting emissions. Being the largest democracy it has a voice that is carried far.”

During his two-day visit, Mr. Borloo held meetings on climate change with Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

More In: National | News