France Vows to Lead in Pushing Trump to Spare Paris Climate Deal

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By Dean Scott

Nov. 15 — The president of France took direct aim Nov. 15 at Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from a global climate pact, calling on him to abandon plans to nullify a deal only made possible because of U.S. leadership under President Barack Obama.

“A promise of hope cannot be betrayed. It must be fulfilled,” French President Francois Hollande said.

“The U.S. is the largest economic power in the world and the [second] largest emitter [and] must respect the commitments they have undertaken,” Hollande told ministers and other officials from nearly 200 nations arriving for the high-level portion of the UN climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco. “It is not only their duty, it is in their interest as well, and the interest of American people as well,” Hollande said, “because no country can be sheltered by climate change” and its impacts.

Hollande, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and other leaders arrived Nov. 15 to kick off the final days of the Nov. 7-18 Morocco summit that is set to take the first steps toward implementing the 2015 Paris climate deal.

But the talks were dealt a serious blow with Republican Donald Trump’s election in the U.S. presidential race Nov. 8, given his campaign pledge to pull the U.S. out of the Paris deal, which had barely entered into force when negotiators arrived in Marrakech Nov. 7.

‘France ... Will Lead’

The French president vowed his nation would take a lead role in prodding Trump’s administration to stick with the climate accord. “France I can assure you… will lead this dialogue with the United States and its new president, with openness and respect but also demands and determination” given that 100-plus nations have already ratified or otherwise joined the pact, he said.

Obama, who bypassed certain congressional opposition and negotiated the Paris deal using executive authority, “was crucial to obtaining this agreement in Paris,” particularly the success of the U.S. in getting China to sign on, Hollande said.

Hollande also pledged that his country, which hosted the Paris talks in December that produced the first truly global climate deal, will take a lead role in supporting green bonds issued to back renewable and other clean energy investments. The global financial sector has raised $80 billion Euros—or $85.8 billion—to back green bonds, Hollande said.

“France will lead by example in issuing the first sovereign bond next year for investment in the energy and environmental transition” needed to move world economies to implement the Paris deal’s vision of a low-carbon world economy, Hollande said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dean Scott in Marrakech at dscott@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

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