Monday, July 20, 2009
Sarkozy shows climate change leadership in talks with UN chief
French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed climate change in New York City on Friday with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Sarkozy stressed the need for a new organization that would oversee climate change initiatives.
The French President's comments come on the heels of the G8 conference earlier this month in Italy where members agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Sarkozy's call for a new global group comes scant weeks in advance of G20 talks scheduled for Pittsburgh and the meeting of United Nations General Assembly.
Both of these meetings are expected to lay out the final climate change groundwork that will be necessary for the Copenhagen Conference in December when the successor to the Kyoto Protocol will be established.
Ban Ki-moon praised Sarkozy during the working lunch at the French consulate for his, "full commitment to work together to seal the deal in Copenhagen on a globally acceptable" agreement.
The Secretary General, who considers the recent G8 commitments as insufficient commended Sarkozy for his climate change initiative during the working lunch. "I am very happy to have such a strong support," he said. Ban Ki-moon added that he was "very grateful for his commitment on climate change."
Sarkozy has become increasingly vocal lately with regards to climate change and many in the environmental community see him as one of its champions including Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Panel will be responsible for the successor of the Kyoto Protocol.
As host to the European Union last year, Sarkozy helped negotiate the climate change deal that saw member countries agree to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020.
Prior to the recent G8 meeting, Sarkozy met with his British counterpart, Prime Minister Gordon Blair to forge a common vision in advance of Copenhagen. At the time Sarkozy said of the upcoming G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, "We won't be satisfied with very long-term goals," adding that he wanted to set ambitious targets that reflected the goals discussed during the London meeting of the G20 in April.
"We will fight, hand in hand, a battle against the consequences of climate change," said Sarkozy on Friday. "We must create a global organization on the environment."
France, which receives most of its energy from nuclear sources has long been at the forefront of environmental change. Measures big and small, include an advanced rail system and the novel approach of renting bicycles in Paris. Both have been lauded and replicated in other cities and countries around the world.
Exclusive of climate change, the two leaders had intense discussions on international trouble spots including Iran, Darfur and Somalia.