INTERVIEW WITH FRENCH MINISTER FOR ECOLOGY ON PARIS ACCORD AFTER TRUMP EXIT

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3 september 2017

Paris pact not under threat over US exit, French minister Brune Poirson says

Vishwa Mohan | TNN | Times of India, September 3, 2017

Visiting French minister of state for ecological and inclusive transition Brune Poirso n has said the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a challenge for the international community, but the global deal is not under threat. She was here to prepare for President Emmanuel Macron's visit to India in December. Excerpts from an interview to TOI:

How do you look at the US decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement? Is it not a setback to global efforts to face the challenges of climate change?

The decision of the US is a challenge for the international community, particularly for those in the poorest countries and small island states, as they suffer the most from climate change impacts. Yet, I still believe that the fight against climate change is going on, even in the US. When President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris agreement, we saw many companies, mayors, and governors say, "Paris Agreement: we are still in".

What would be the fate of the agreement, now that the second-biggest carbon emitter, the US, will be out of the deal in three years?

The Paris agreement is not under threat. First of all, thanks to announcements by leaders such as President Macron and Prime Minister Modi, the international community sent a clear signal that the Paris agreement is non-renegotiable and irreversible. But a second parameter demonstrates that the Paris agreement remains, and will remain, the cornerstone of climate action. The corporate and industrial world as well as citizens support climate action and the Paris agreement because they know that this is the only way to bring growth, create jobs while eradicating poverty, and enhancing the quality of life of all the citizens of the world.

Will France or the EU together fill the gap in efforts as far as scaling up climate action ambitions is concerned?


In July, France published a new climate plan to enhance its contribution to the Paris agreement. We decided to be signally more ambitious with the new goal of attaining carbon neutrality by 2050. It's much more ambitious than our previous target. The same plan announces that we will introduce a bill in Parliament in September to ban all new permits for fossil fuel exploration in France.

How would you interpret the possibility of a re-negotiation of the Paris pact, agreement, what the US administration has hinted at?

The Paris agreement is the most balanced and comprehensive universal agreement on climate change. As various leaders have stated during the G7 and G20 summits, it's not renegotiable. We are in the process, under the UN Convention, of drafting the rules for implementing the Paris agreement, but there is one single way to do it: amplifying ambition because ambition works, because it's good not only for the economy, but also for citizens.

What are your (France) expectations from the upcoming COP23 in Bonn (Germany), specifically when the US has decided to join the summit despite announcing that it will not be part of the deal?

Bonn will be a working COP, to progress on rules of implementation for the Paris agreement, but also consolidate the universal alliance of all of those who want to do more for climate change mitigation. It was in this spirit that President Macron announced that France would host a summit on December 12 to celebrate the second anniversary of the Paris agreement, and make it an opportunity to mobilise public and private finance for supporting innovation and more ambitious action.


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