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Environment

France must show the way on climate change - Macron

media COP24 President Michal Kurtyka reacts during a final session of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, December 15, 2018. Reuters

As the world's nations agreed in Poland on measures to uphold the 2015 Paris climate deal, President Macron emphasised France's role in the process.

French President Emmanuel Macron said France must "show the way" as he welcomed the progress made at the talks in Katowice, Poland, aimed to implement the Paris 2015 climate deal.

Emmanuel Macron salutes climate deal
Bravo to the UN, the scientists, the NGO's and the negotiators. France and Europe must show the way. The fight goes on.
Emmanuel Macron - Twitter

"The international community remains committed to the fight against climate change," he tweeted on Sunday.

"Congratulations to the UN, scientists, NGOs and all negotiators. France and Europe must show the way. The fight goes on."

Ironically, Macron's statement came a day after the fifth consecutive weekend of protests by the YellowVest movement.

The protests had led Macron to scrap a controversial fuel tax last week.

Sir David Attenborough addresses COP24

Climate deal

Nations on Sunday struck a deal to breathe life into the landmark 2015 Paris climate treaty in the mining city of Katowice, Poland.

Delegates from nearly 200 states finalised a common rule book designed to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).

"It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no one behind." said COP24 president Michal Kurtyka as he gavelled through the deal after talks ran deep into overtime.

Lack of ambition

At their heart, negotiations were quesitons as to how each nation funds action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as how those actions are reported.

But states already dealing with devastating floods, droughts and extreme weather said the package lacked the ambition to cut emissions the world needed.

The final decision text was repeatedly delayed as negotiators sought guidelines that could ward off the worst threats posed by the heating planet while protecting the economies of rich and poor nations alike.

Greenpeace condemned an "irresponsible divide" between "vulnerable island states and impoverished countries" on one side, and "those who would block climate action" on the other.

Funding and carbon markets

Developing nations had wanted more clarity from richer ones over how the future climate fight would be funded and pushed for so-called "loss and damage" measures.

This would see richer countries giving money now to help deal with the effects of climate change many vulnerable states are already experiencing.

Another contentious issue was the integrity of carbon markets, looking ahead to the day when the patchwork of distinct exchanges -- in China, the European Union, parts of the United States - may be joined up in a global system.

The Paris Agreement calls for setting up a mechanism to guard against practices, such as double counting emissions savings, that could undermine such a market.

A major sticking point, delegates eventually agreed Saturday to kick the issue down the road until next year.

One veteran observer said that Poland's presidency at COP24 had left many countries out of the process and presented at-risk nations with a "take it or leave it" deal.

Progress had "been held up by Brazil, when it should have been held up by the small islands. It's tragic."

The report highlighted the need to slash carbon pollution by nearly half before 2030 in order to hit the 1.5C target.

But the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected, leading to watered-down wording.

The final statement from the Polish COP24 presidency welcomed "the timely conclusion" of the report and invited "parties to make use of it" -- hardly the ringing endorsement many nations had called for.

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