18 may 2015

Climate talks can't fail as there is no alternative planet, says French minister

‘We must commit ourselves very resolutely because there isn’t an alternative solution,’ Laurent Fabius says ahead of UN climate summit in Paris

The Guardian, Monday 18 May 2015 12.46 BST

France’s foreign minister warned Monday that the international community had no option but to combat climate change as there is “no alternative planet”.

“We don’t have the right to fail,” Laurent Fabius told the opening of a two-day gathering in Berlin of representatives from 35 countries to pave the way for a global push to cut emissions.

“We must commit ourselves very resolutely because there isn’t an alternative solution, for the simple reason that there isn’t an alternative planet,” he added.

The informal talks are taking place under the “Petersberg Climate Dialogue” initiative, launched by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010, to prepare for the UN climate change conference in Paris in December.

French President Francois Hollande has set out an ambitious goal for the Paris meeting – an agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures linked to greenhouse gas emissions to 2C from the pre-industrial age.

Hollande and Merkel are due to attend the Berlin talks on Tuesday.

Fabius said that several other meetings were still scheduled before the Paris conference but warned that its success “depends on us all”.

Just under 40 countries have already presented their plans towards helping achieve the target eyed at the Paris meeting, Fabius said.

“It’s essential that everyone, starting with the rich countries, publishes them” before the deadline of 30 October, he added.

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks said there was a “moral obligation” to fight climate disturbance and reiterated Berlin’s objective of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020 from 1990 levels.

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