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Global Climate Deal Shouldn't Harm Economic Growth, France Says

02/05/2015 05:19 am ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015
Richard I'Anson via Getty Images

NEW DELHI, Feb 5 (Reuters) - A global deal to curb carbon emissions must recognize each country's right to develop, France's foreign minister said in New Delhi on Thursday, as the host of this year's U.N. climate change talks seeks to win India's backing for a global deal.

Laurent Fabius said that efforts to reach an agreement, which is due at the United Nations summit in Paris in December, would fail if any country believed it would hurt their economic prospects.

India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, often acts as the voice of the developing world in climate change talks, and winning its support is seen as crucial if countries are to reach a deal.

"An agreement that would leave some countries to consider their growth hampered by its provisions will not be accepted," Fabius told an audience at an annual sustainable development summit.

Fabius, who was due to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Thursday, said he understood "the constraints of India" as it seeks to grow its economy.

Governments across the world are expected to submit national plans to rein in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31 to form the basis of the global agreement due at the Paris summit.

India has long resisted pressure to commit to any emissions targets, on the grounds that it could hamper its economy and that rich countries should shoulder most of the burden of lowering emissions.

Instead, India has committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy and improving the energy efficiency of its rapidly growing economy, while at the same time increasing its burning of coal to meet the bulk of its growing energy needs.

India will build an ambitious 100,000 MW of solar power capacity - 33 times its current level - by 2020, two years ahead of a target date announced last year, Prakash Javadekar, India's environment minister, told the same event in Delhi.

Fabius also argued that the public and private sector should commit more money to a green climate fund, a U.N. initiative that aims to help poor nations cope with global warming, if the world is to cut emissions successfully.

"No significant reduction of greenhouse gas emission can be achieved without critical access to sustainable development," he said.

"The initial capitalisation of the green climate fund has mounted to over $10 billion ... but beyond that we need increased financing from both public and private sources to reach $100 billion a year starting from 2020." (Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

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