Paris climate pact success 'not certain': Hollande

President Francois Hollande said the meeting's success was "possible, not certain".
President Francois Hollande said the meeting's success was "possible, not certain".PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - President Francois Hollande of France, host of a crucial year-end conference to agree a global pact on climate change, said on Tuesday (Nov 3) the meeting's success was "possible, not certain".

"There are still a few issues that have to be settled," the French leader told Europe1 radio during an official visit to China.

"Yes, failure is still possible, but today I am confident," said Mr Hollande.

The Nov 30-Dec 11 UN summit in Paris will be opened by world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, China's Xi Jinping and Mr Narendra Modi of India.

The aim is to unite all the world's nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change, with the goal of capping warming at 2 deg C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

The agreement will be backed by a roster of national pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Mr Hollande said it was encouraging that major emitters like China and the United States, as well as developing nations were all deeply engaged in the notoriously combative negotiating process.

Asked if he thought the conference would be a success, Mr Hollande said: "It is possible, not certain."

Among the key points still in dispute, he cited US$100 billion (S$139.75 billion) in annual climate finance that rich nations had promised for developing countries from 2020.

Some US$65 billion has been secured and another US$20 billion promised, said Mr Hollande, but "we are not yet at US$100 billion".

On Monday, Mr Hollande and Mr Xi said the new agreement must include five-yearly reviews of nations' compliance with their own carbon-cutting undertakings.

They also agreed that the pact must be legally binding.

China is the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter and will be a key player at the Paris event.

It is an important member of the largest negotiating bloc, the G77 group of developing nations, which insists that rich nations must bear bigger responsibility for cutting emissions, since they have been polluting for longer.

Developed nations point the finger, in turn, at emerging giants like China and India burning massive amounts of fossil fuel to power their fast-growing economies and populations.