Macron told to protect ‘endangered’ UN climate talks

15 May 2017. By Emily Waterfield.

French President Emmanuel Macron must use his term in office to defend the survival of UN negotiations, as support for national policymaking mounts in countries such as the US, a new report has said.

Failure to shore up an international climate treaty struck in Paris risks the collapse of global cooperation, says the report from the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

"Derogation from promises made in Paris would substantially weaken climate governance and the United Nations, and endanger the very idea of international climate-change cooperation," says Iddri, a Paris-based research institute at Sciences Po. "France's European partners, as well as developing countries, will expect France to maintain the momentum."

The report examines "sustainable development" deadlines facing the newly elected president over the next five years. These include tackling climate change, and making an "energy transition" away from fossil fuels toward clean sources of power.

"These deadlines constitute opportunities to adapt the French economy to the biggest challenges of the 21st century," argues the report, which was published last week.

Faced with "rising unilateral tendencies and a retreat into the national space," sustainable development also provides a chance "to defend the indispensable cooperation between countries at the heart of Europe and around the world, " Iddri says.

The UN climate deal in particular shows the need for strong international cooperation, the think tank says.

"The global geopolitical context is uncertain today," Iddri explains. The US in particular could refuse to honor its international obligations."

US President Donald Trump is widely expected to decide this week decide whether to follow through on an election-campaign pledge to withdraw the US from the climate accord.

As well as attending the annual UN climate talks, France will next year host the Group of Seven summit. This will be "another opportunity to renew the impetus and the will for climate action," the think tank says.

"By using its diplomatic network, as well as by implementing its own national climate commitments, [France] can put climate questions at the top of the international agenda," Iddri says.