Friday

22nd Sep 2017

Abandon hope for UN climate treaty, potential French president believes

  • Former French environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo (Photo: WWF)

Former French environment minister and potential presidential candidate Jean-Louis Borloo believes Europe is obsessed with legally-binding treaties as a result of its post-war history and its experience in gradually ceding sovereignty to Brussels - a hang-up that is unnecessarily affecting the UN climate negotiation process, a US diplomatic cable has revealed.

The cable's release by WikiLeaks on Friday (10 December) came just hours before EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said much more work was needed if a legally-binding deal on cutting carbon emissions was to be achieved next year, as Europe hopes for.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But in a meeting with US ambassador to France Charles Rivkin on 11 February, Mr Borloo said the key to advancing climate negotiations is to drop the notion of a legally binding treaty in favour of a system of national commitments, according to the cable.

He also argued that it would be up to a small group of eight or ten heads of state to negotiate implementation of the Copenhagen Accord, a controversial deal struck last December under which signatories agreed to voluntary emission cuts.

Those pledges were enshrined in a UN document for the fist time over the weekend in Cancun, Mexico, with Ms Hedegaard giving no indication that the EU plans to ditch its search for a more comprehensive deal in South Africa next year, despite considerable pessimism from analysts.

"Everyone needs to be aware that we still have a long and challenging journey ahead of us to reach the goal of a legally binding global climate framework," Ms Hedegaard said on Saturday after the talks drew to a close.

The EU and some green NGOs have greeted the Cancun Agreement as a modest success while others have slammed the result, saying it is unfair to developing countries and could also put the planet on track to temperature increases of up to 5°C. Meanwhile, the pace of talks has alarmed almost everyone.

At the February meeting, Mr Borloo argued that major emerging countries were not prepared to cede sovereignty to a treaty, while EU members saw this as both normal and essential, according to the cable.

He added that in his belief, the UN climate negotiators did not have the ability to close a deal after years of talks.

The release of the US diplomatic cable also comes just days before EU leaders are set to agree a further EU treaty chance in order to set up a permanent stability mechanism to aid struggling eurozone nations.

Until recently, Mr Borloo was environment minister in the government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but was unceremoniously dropped in a cabinet reshuffle in November.

The centrist politician is now one of the names being tipped to potentially challenge Mr Sarkozy for the centre-right UMP nomination for presidential elections in the spring of 2012.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

Quiet showdown in Barcelona

Thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets, in protest against the Spanish government's efforts to prevent the independence referendum. Both sides know that violence would go against their cause.

Visual Data

The Merkelisation of Europe

Angela Merkel, the EU's most powerful leader, is running for a fourth time in Germany's election on Sunday. But what has changed in Europe over the 12 years of her chancellorship?

Visual Data

The Merkelisation of Europe

Angela Merkel, the EU's most powerful leader, is running for a fourth time in Germany's election on Sunday. But what has changed in Europe over the 12 years of her chancellorship?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies