French Foreign Minister: ‘We Have 500 Days to Avoid Climate Chaos’

May 13, 2014 - 6:20 PM

Paris 2015 climate conference

France will host a U.N. international climate conference in Nov.-Dec. 2015 (Photo: F. de la Mure/French Foreign Ministry)

(Update: Adds White House comment)

(CNSNews.com) – The world has “500 days to avoid climate chaos,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said alongside Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Tuesday.

“We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos,” Fabius said. “And I know that President Obama and John Kerry himself are committed on this subject and I’m sure that with them, with a lot of other friends, we shall be able to reach success in this very important matter.”

Fabius was referring to the next big United Nations climate conference, scheduled to open in Paris, France in November 2015, or in 565 days’ time.

(There will actually be a U.N. climate conference held before Paris – in Lima, Peru at the end of this year – but the world body views that more as a stepping stone to the 2015 meeting.)

The organizers have high hopes for the Paris event known in U.N. jargon as the 21st conference of the parties (COP21) – the parties being the signatories to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

“By the end of the meeting, for the first time in over 20 years of U.N. negotiations, all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be bound by a universal agreement on climate,” the French foreign ministry said around the time it offered to host the conference.

Invited to respond Tuesday to Fabius’ 500-day warning, White House press secretary Jay Carney pointed to the National Climate Assessment released last week which, he said, “made clear in the view of the science that climate change is upon us and the effects and impacts of climate change are being felt today.”

“We’ve laid out a comprehensive strategy aimed at helping communities around the country prepare for the effects of climate change, as well as a strategy to reduce our carbon pollution, enhance our energy independence, and address climate change in the future to try to mitigate future impacts,” Carney said.

“There’s no question that this is a global effort that has to be undertaken because of the nature of carbon emissions around the world.”

The Paris climate conference will be held from November 30 to December 11, 2015.