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France: Progress made towards UN climate agreement

Progress has been made towards reaching a climate change deal at a UN conference in Paris next month, the French government has said.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said senior officials from 70 countries have agreed on the principle of a mechanism to reassess the countries' emission pledges every five years in order to improve them.

He said in a news conference: "There is still significant work to be done but success is indispensable."

The officials also stressed that a minimum amount of 100 billion US dollars (£66.2 billion) should be spent every year on climate change issues.

The conference, which will be held from November 30 to December 11, will gather 196 parties to reach an agreement aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) between pre-industrial times and the end of the century.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN climate agency, said "it is possible, it is necessary and it is urgent" to come to an agreement.

She added: "I do hear today from the ministers a renewed call to act now because of the urgency."

At least 117 world leaders have accepted the invitation to come to Paris to speak on the conference's first day, including US president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to French authorities.

In a separate event at the Elysee palace on Tuesday, French president Francois Hollande met with five African leaders to prepare the climate conference.

He said: "The question arises whether we are able to deal with the big issue of climate and at the same time to develop Africa."

One key issue to be discussed in Paris is how rich countries can provide financial and other support to help the poorest countries reduce emissions.


From Belfast Telegraph