Who said what and pledged how much

By Aditi Sawant
Published: Wednesday 24 September 2014

Francois Hollande, president, France: “Our commitment is to be clear, we need to do everything we can, so that we can curb and contain the increase in temperature below 2°C… We need to define a development model for the next 30 years to enable access to goods for the people of the world and at the same time conserve the planet…Each one of us must bear in mind the failure of Copenhagen, today we have an obligation to succeed.”

France pledged US $1 billion USD for the Green Climate Fund. (France, however, has a history of mixing its grants with loans).

Barack Obama, US president: "We recognize our role in creating this problem and our responsibility to solve it… We are the first generation to feel impacts of climate change and the last generation that can do anything about it."

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources: “Saudi Arabia believes firmly that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be achieved without affecting economic growth.” The representative of the world’s major oil producer said a price on emissions would “undermine the principle of justice and equity”.

Guyana president, Donald Ramotar: "Wealthy countries must take the lead in helping the most vulnerable states." (Guyana is likely feel severe impacts as the sea level rise)

Helle Thorning Schmidt, prime minister, Denmark: "Denmark aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2050."

Denmark, which has a very small carbon footprint that contributes up to only 0.14 per cent of the world’s emissions, has promised to reduce its emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

Denmark made a commitment to give more than 300 million to the Green Climate Fund.

Park Geun-hye, president of Republic of Korea:
"Escaping poverty was once our top priority. Now it is reducing our carbon foot-print.”

South Korea, being headquarters of the Green Climate Fund, announced a contribution of $ 100 million as climate aid.

Enda Kenny, prime minister, Ireland:
"We will reduce greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050." (He seemed to be the only leader to mention non-CO2 greenhouse gases).

Erna Solberg, prime minister, Norway: “Norway will contribute $500 million per year until 2020 to combat climate change.”

(Norway has already injected money in the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism. The climate summit pledge is likely to include money earmarked for REDD).

Anote Tong, president, Kiribati:
"I've been shouting about climate change for so long, I have lost my voice."

“I know that in the past there was a lot of focus on the polar bears. In my attempt to get attention on our own situation I draw a comparison that what happens to the polar bears will also be happening to us in our part of the world,” he added.

(Kiribati, a lush small island nation, needs global temperature to stay below 1.5°C to survive).

James Michelle, president, Seychelles: “Climate change on its current path is a crime against humanity.

We want to take the lead but we are burdened by unsustainable debt levels. The country is an archipelago state, consisting of over 115 small islands in the Indian Ocean. Rising sea levels threatens to put most of the archipelago under water in next 50-100 years, leaving rest of the country unfit for habitation.”

Manuel Barroso, president, the European Commission: “In the light of the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, the specific EU target for 2030 for greenhouse gas emission reductions will be fully in line with the agreed ambitious EU objective for 2050.”

(The target that was announced was a mere reiteration of EU’s earlier statement; EU did not commit to Green Climate Fund.)

Yoweri Museveni, president, Uganda: “Most unfortunately, this is not the fault of Africa. This is the fault of North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia.”

(The Ugandan president used the opportunity to highlight the vulnerability of the African nations that are the victims of habits of imperialism and wanted assurance that the big polluters in both the developed and developing world share the burden of emissions reduction.)

Prakash Javadekar, minister of state for environment, forests and climate change, India: He refrained from making any pledges and, instead, highlighted the country’s expansion of solar power.

Zhang Gaoli, vice-premier, China: Pledged to provide US $ 6 million to promote south-south cooperation on climate change. Apart from this he repeated previous statements by China that aimed to reduce its energy intensity. He added China would “expound bold measures (in emission reductions) after 2020”.

David Cameron, prime minister, the UK:
“We are on track to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.”

(In light of the recent carbon budget talks, UK implemented a national plan with binding carbon budgets and aligned its emissions reduction based on the availability of the budget.)

At the summit, the country pledged a further GBP 4 billion as climate finance.
(Compiled by Aditi Sawant)

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