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There was no doubt in the mind of Nicolas Hulot that the COP21 conference on climate change would be a success.

Speaking to a group of AAPA members five days before over 140 heads of state and governments converged on Paris to attend the COP21 on Nov. 30, President Hollande’s special envoy for the protection of the planet said : « The only question is : will it be a half success, a full success or an absolute success. »
Regardless of whether the conference’s goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the trend of global warming are actually agreed upon, he said, the unprecedented gathering of so many top-level officials to discuss climate change is a huge achievement in itself. This will build a dynamic that will underpin what is now patently a common desire to act on climate change, something that wasn’t apparent in previous years, he said.

If the COP21 conference didn’t exist, he stated, “the chances of restoring balance to our climate would be zero.”

Finding the money to help less-advanced nations to adapt and play their part in the battle against global warming is crucial, Hulot said, and it’s important to reach the stated goal of $100 billion in annual financing by 2020 before that date. In any case, he said, the $100 billion figure has to be considered a floor.

However, traditional methods of fund-raising won’t get us there, he said,. “We haven’t worked enough to explore innovative financing; we have to step away from orthodox financing practices.” He suggested solutions might include the creation of artificial financial instruments such as the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, a tax on financial transactions, and redistributing a global carbon tax.

The COP21 conference “isn’t just a conference on the climate, it’s also a peace conference,” Hulot said. He warned that global warning would cause massive shifts in populations and a deeper divide between rich and poor. “A lack of ambition in Paris, and especially if Paris were to be a flop, would increase the conditions of future conflicts,” he stated.

-David Pearson

Link to Irish Times article:
Link to France 24 article: