Laurent Fabius: Climate finance, transparency rules priorities for 2016

President of UN climate talks insists he will see out tenure despite reshuffle rumours, says COP21 deal means move from fossil fuels is now irreversible

Laurent Fabius brings the gavel down on a Paris Agreement (Pic: IISD/Kiara Worth)

Laurent Fabius brings the gavel down on a Paris Agreement in December 2015 (Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth)

By Ed King

Finance for green growth and the development of new climate transparency rules are priorities for 2016, according to the president of UN climate talks Laurent Fabius.

The French foreign minister steered nearly 200 countries to agreement on a new global pact last December, and will maintain his position at the helm of discussions until November.

Batting away speculation over his future, the veteran politician and diplomat insisted he would remain COP president, despite rumours of a government reshuffle later this year.

Speaking to Le Monde, Fabius said working out what counts as climate finance and how a “common and transparent system for monitoring commitments” works would be his immediate focus.

“2015 was the year of negotiations and decisions, 2016 must be the year of implementation and action. Our diplomacy will remain highly mobilised,” he said.

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Climate finance flows are a contentious issue. A floor of $100 billion a year from wealthy to poorer nations was promised in Paris, starting in 2020, but progress on raising funds has been patchy.

An October report from the OECD – a club of rich countries – said over $62 billion a year is flowing to the developing world.

That angered some poorer countries, who accused the Paris-based body of using funding sources in their data that should not be counted, like loans and export credits.

“We must now define the precise rules,” Fabius stressed.

Paris: judging success

Some academics have decried what they claim is a “hollow” climate pact that virtually ensures geoengineering will be required in the future.

The deal’s lack of real ambition offers “false hope” and contains “deadly flaws”, 11 scientists wrote in a letter published in the UK daily the Independent last week.

The architect of that agreement, unsurprisingly, has a different take.

The move away from coal, oil and gas as primary forms of energy is “irreversible”, as is the desire to make the planet more “bearable” for humans.

“Without wanting to be bombastic… the agreement internationally [is the] most important of the early twenty-first century,” he said.

Still, he acknowledged news that 2015 was the warmest year on record should motivate governments to move faster in their climate efforts.

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