Hollande calls for progressive tax on carbon

The tax would send out the message that there is a cost to emitting greenhouse gases damaging the environment, says the French President in COP21 opening address.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:19 pm IST

Published - November 30, 2015 05:01 pm IST - Paris

In what is set to be a major milestone in the history of climate change talks, an unprecedented number of world leaders led by U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are to address a Leaders Event at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference.

Welcoming the leaders of 150 countries, French President Francois Hollande called for a progressive tax on carbon, which would send out the message that there is a cost to emitting greenhouse gases damaging the environment.

Setting the stage for the address by the leaders, Mr. Hollande said the key requirement for a successful conference at Paris would be a credible path being formulated to limit further rise in global temperatures to less than 2° Celsius, or 1.5°C if possible.

“On December 12, an agreement must be reached,” the French President said, stressing that developed countries have a historic responsibility for emissions. Emerging countries must, in parallel, accelerate their transition to clean technologies and they must be helped.

Calling the Paris meet exceptional, Mr. Hollande said the 100 billion dollars for help to developing countries set at Copenhagen does not need to be set afresh as a target in Paris. The focus has to be on generating these funds and ensuring their availability.

On another contentious area, he said all technology for the transition and clean development should be accessible to all countries.

Paris must propose a long-term project: Ban

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the leaders that the agreement in Paris must propose a long-term project, underpinned by the 2°C target set on the basis of scientific evidence. The agreement must also be dynamic, without being subject to re-negotiation on the basis of global economic changes. It would need provisions that could be reviewed, without jeopardising the agreement itself. Also, the Paris decision must show solidarity with the poor and the most vulnerable.

‘Conference highlighted the spirit of Paris’

The UNFCCC said such a large number of world leaders had gathered for a UN event for the first time.

The executive secretary of the body, Christiana Figueres said the conference highlighted the spirit of Paris after the recent terrorist attack –– showing that leaders were capable of standing in solidarity, that they would address the collective good in spite of the past, present and future differences.

Earth needs ‘life support’

Prince Charles, in an address at the opening of the Conference of the Parties 21, said if the planet had been a patient, we would have put her in treatment. It was time to put her on ‘life support,’ he said.

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference held in 2009, he had tried to highlight the world had only 100 months to alter human behaviour. Eighty months had passed, but things had not changed. “Have we reached such a level of collective inertia,” he asked, appealing to the leaders to come up with an enlightened agreement.

“Consider the needs of the youngest generation, more than anything else,” he said, lamenting that despite the availability of good science, it was not being applied to climate change policy.

Early funding for LDCs

Making an early announcement on adding funding for adaptation in vulnerable countries, eleven donors pledged close to $250 USD million in new money for adaptation support.

Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the USA announced their contributions today to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), a climate fund hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The GEF CEO and Chairperson, Naoko Ishii, said “Given that we’re already locked into climate change trajectories for many years to come, increased investment in adaptation has to be at the core of the new climate agreement.”

Some of the major issues that climate change has caused are more intense droughts, violent storms, sea-level rise with an impact on the poorest and most vulnerable countries and communities.

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