People, Environment

Hollande in China for Climate Talks

Hollande in China for Climate TalksHollande in China for Climate Talks

French President François Hollande said Monday that Chinese support was “essential” to reaching an effective deal at the forthcoming climate change conference in Paris as he began a two-day state visit to the Asian giant.

In the southwestern megacity of Chongqing, Hollande said he was seeking “a global and ambitious agreement that will allow [global] warming to be limited to two degrees”.

“The support of the Chinese is essential,” he said, adding: “The fight against global warming is a humanitarian issue – how the planet can be preserved – and it is also an issue of considerable economic importance, of what we call green growth,” France24 reports.

Hollande is in China to try and persuade Beijing, a key player in the fight against global warming, to give a decisive push to negotiations ahead of a key climate conference in Paris.

China is the world’s largest polluter and will be a key participant at the COP 21 conference, which begins on November 30, in the face of disputes over whether developed or developing countries should bear more of the burden for reducing emissions.

Talks have largely stalled over the mechanism for following up on commitments by the 195 attending countries. France is calling for a “legally binding” mechanism with a review every five years, while China has ruled out any kind of punitive system.

Beijing, which was blamed for scuppering a 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen, has already promised its carbon dioxide emissions will peak “by around 2030” in a symbolic announcement in June.

  Green Growth

Actor Sean Penn on Sunday praised the French government’s efforts to push for a deal, calling the conference “the last great hope” for an agreement fighting climate change. Penn met with Environment Minister Ségolène Royal in Paris on Sunday to discuss the actor’s reforestation efforts in Haiti, according to her office.

Hollande will travel to Beijing later Monday where he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Tuesday, when the two leaders will speak to a French-Chinese economic forum on green growth.

Hollande is accompanied by around 40 heads of French firms and a number of ministers, visiting a Sino-French water treatment company in Chongqing Monday to highlight cooperation in green growth industries.

The French president will follow his trip to China with a one-day state visit to South Korea.

The Chinese president is expected to come to France on Nov. 30 for the opening of the UN climate conference along with many other world leaders, including President Barack Obama. The conference runs through Dec. 11.