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For Paris climate agreement fifth anniversary, let us raise our level of ambition

Update: December, 12/2020 - 07:18

Nicolas WARNERY, Ambassador of France to Vietnam

Nicolas WARNERY*

The adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement on December 12, 2015, five years ago, was a landmark event after more than twenty years of challenging climate negotiations. It establishes a single, flexible and dynamic framework of collective and universal obligations to combat climate change, which takes into account countries’ disparate levels of development.

The Paris Agreement sets in stone an ambitious collective goal in order to preserve the planet's ecosystems and people's living conditions: to hold average temperature increase “well below 2°C” and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.

However, 2020 is expected to be one of the warmest years in history. Even though greenhouse gas emissions dropped following the Covid-19 pandemic, it does not reflect a structural change. Based on current trends in greenhouse gas emissions and climate action, a 1.5°C temperature rise is expected before 2050, and 4°C could be reached before 2100.

The Paris Agreement wisely provides for a periodical update of national commitments – every five years, which makes this year anniversary particularly important. Given the current trends, it is essential that we collectively use this opportunity to act, by raising our climate ambition before COP26 with new objectives (“nationally determined contributions”) based on low-emission development strategies. We must collectively raise our level of ambition and turn our commitments into public policies that contribute to in-depth change.

So far, only a few countries in the world have done so – Việt Nam is one of them. It has increased its ambition in greenhouse gas emissions reduction (from 8 per cent to 9 per cent by 2030 without international aid, and from 25 to 27 per cent with aid). France and the EU have been proactive to support Việt Nam moving towards a more sustainable and resilient development. For instance, France and the EU recently announced new joint funding to strengthen climate-resilient urban infrastructures in five central provinces that were recently affected by terrible extreme weather event.

Together, we must do more. France is acting to strengthen the international community’s ambition, in particular with G20 countries, which represent 80 per cent of global emissions. President Xi Jinping announced before the UN General Assembly in September 2020 that China would achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This goal is close to the EU's ambition, announced in March 2020, to become climate neutral by 2050. If the US were to announce a similar objective, it would mean that the three largest emitters would align themselves with a common agenda.

To help put the climate back at the top of the agenda, France, the UK and the UN, in partnership with Chile and Italy, decided to organize a virtual Climate Ambition Summit on December 12, 2020, on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, as a platform where Heads of State and Government can present new concrete commitments (greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation measures, climate action financing…).

It is clear that climate change is more than ever a global challenge, which already has a profound impact on our ecosystems and on our people – building and implementing more ambitious plans to tackle climate change must be a priority for all of us. France will continue to support Việt Nam on this path, to continue and increase its efforts and stand ready with its partners to amplify their support to achieve a higher level of ambition against climate change.

*Nicolas WARNERY is the Ambassador of France to Việt Nam

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