Wednesday 18 October 2017

Penn urges leaders to save the forests

TEN-YEAR PLAN: Actor Sean Penn called on leaders to save the forests at the UN climate conference in Paris
TEN-YEAR PLAN: Actor Sean Penn called on leaders to save the forests at the UN climate conference in Paris
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

American actor Sean Penn, founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organisation, has called on leaders at the UN climate conference in Paris to help preserve the forests of the world.

Penn, speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the conference, said he's hoping to help make Haiti "a model of reforestation" through a 10-year plan. He told climate delegations "with your help, here come the trees".

Penn praised the climate delegates in Paris, saying "this is the most exciting time in human history because ... we have clarity and the days of dreams have given way to the days of doing".

Negotiators at the conference, , which runs until Friday, adopted a draft of a global agreement to fight climate change and passed it on to environment and foreign ministers to work out the remaining points of dispute.

The chairman of the working group drawing up the draft, gaveled it just before a noon deadline yesterday after agreeing to make some changes that had been requested by various delegations.

The draft is full of multiple options, highlighting how a host of sticking points remain to be worked out. Most relate to how to define the obligations of countries in different stages of development in fighting climate change.

China's chief negotiator Su Wei said that any agreement adopted in the negotiations should be legally binding in its entirety. Su said that if a treaty is adopted at the end of the Paris talks, then "all the provisions, starting from the preamble to the final clauses would be legally binding".

This contrasts with the US position which is for some parts to be legally binding, but not countries' pledges to limit the greenhouse gas emissions.

Binding emissions cuts would likely require the Obama administration to send the deal to the Republican-controlled Congress, where it would likely be struck down.

"We cannot just identify one sentence or one provision or article as not legally binding," Su said. "That's a general rule of international treaty laws."

Delegates at the climate talks say there are still many unresolved issues, mostly related to how to spell out the obligations of countries in different stages of development in fighting climate change.

Though 184 countries have presented plans to cut or curb emissions of greenhouse gases, many are conditional on financial support from wealthy countries. One of the sticking points is who pays.

The US and other developed countries that have traditionally been the only ones expected to provide climate finance are now asking for the donor base to be expanded to include the most advanced developing countries.

Sunday Independent

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