• Blames lack of progress on providing aid to poorer countries
  • More than 190 countries to attend Dec. climate summit in Paris

Talks to reach a global agreement on climate change in Paris in December could fail partly due to a lack of progress on aid to help poorer countries deal with the consequences of warming, said French President Francois Hollande.

Against the backdrop of a refugee crisis that has spread from Greece and Italy to Germany, Hollande said the absence of a deal to curb carbon emissions would result in millions more migrants seeking asylum in Europe to escape weather-related havoc.

“We won’t have hundreds of thousands of refugees in the next 20 or 30 years, but millions” fleeing submerged islands, drought-stricken regions and other catastrophes, Hollande said Monday at a press conference in Paris.

More than 190 countries will meet for the climate summit aimed at getting an agreement to limit carbon emissions responsible for global warming. Rich nations pledged in 2009 to increase climate-related aid to poor countries to $100 billion a year by 2020, a target Hollande said has yet to be reached and now threatens to jeopardize an overall deal.

“There are even risks of failure,” Hollande said. “Everything depends on this question of finance. It’s the key.” 

Following a meeting last week in Bonn of country envoys, diplomats painted a rosier picture. Pledges by countries to reduce their emissions submitted so far cover almost 70 percent of global heat-trapping pollution, said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the agency organizing the global talks. 

Emerging-market countries could scupper a climate treaty that doesn’t contain firm commitments on aid that are “measurable, predictable, verifiable, transparent and with a mechanism under which they can be revised over time,” Hollande said. France plans to go out on an “offensive” to get countries to agree to financing ahead of the December meeting, he said.

“I will do everything so we can get an agreement on climate in December. France has to show an example on financing,” Hollande said. China, as one of the world’s most polluted nations, will play a key role in drumming up support for an agreement, he said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE