French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius presented a landmark global climate accord on Saturday, a “historic” measure for transforming the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades and turning the tide on global warming.
At the tail end of the hottest year on record and after four years of fraught U.N. talks often pitting the interests of rich nations against poor, imperiled island states against rising economic powerhouses, Fabius urged officials from nearly 200 nations to support what he hopes will be a final draft.
Setting a broad goal of eliminating the net increase in man-made greenhouse gas emission this century, the agreement does not mandate specific measures or targets. Instead, it creates a system for ensuring countries make good on voluntary domestic efforts to curb emissions, and provides billions more dollars to help poor nations cope with the transition to a greener economy.
“Our responsibility to history is immense,” Fabius told thousands of officials, including President Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in the main hall of the conference venue on the outskirts of Paris.
“If we were to fail, how could we rebuild this hope?” he asked. “Our children would not understand or forgive us.”
Barring any last-minute objections as negotiators pore over the final text, they will reconvene at around 1545 local time (9.45 a.m. EST) to approve the agreement, a major breakthrough in global efforts to avert the potentially disastrous consequences of an overheated planet.
Calling it an “ambitious and balanced” agreement, Fabius said it would mark a “historic turning point”…