Friday

20th Apr 2018

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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  2. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  3. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  4. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  5. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  6. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  7. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  8. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeParabéNs! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  2. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  3. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  4. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  5. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  6. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  10. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector

Latest News

  1. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  2. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  3. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  4. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  5. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  6. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  7. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  8. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole