The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been meeting in Paris since November 30th. The goal of COP21 is an ambitious agreement to fight climate change. Where do negotiations stand midway through the conference? LVMH Environment Director Sylvie Bénard provides an update and looks at the next steps.
What were some of the highlights of the first week of the Climate Conference?
The first week was marked by the presence of heads of state from the entire world who came to outline the commitments of their countries. Among the noteworthy speeches were those by U.S President Barack Obama, who recognized the impact of human activity on the climate, as well as China, which said it would pursue additional reductions if a final agreement is reached. India, on the other hand wants to continue to rely on fossil fuels. Small island countries also made their voice heard, demanding measures to limit the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Otherwise, they emphasized, their countries will disappear.
The atmosphere at the “Climate Generation Village” set up at the conference venue in Le Bourget is both serious and smiling. Attendees from the world over have stopped in to share examples, initiatives and ideas. There are people from every continent wearing traditional dress, alongside prominent researchers, journalists and engaged citizens eager to be a part of this historic event.
Where do the negotiations stand?
On December 5th, the President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, announced that a new draft had been worked out and approved by all parties, providing a new basis for negotiations. So far the draft represents a shorter text – 20 pages, compared with 55 at the beginning of the negotiations – but there is still a great deal of suspense as the Thursday deadline for an agreement draws near. A “Paris Committee” will meet daily to provide an overview of negotiations, while a group of 14 facilitators is responsible for ensuring that the level of targets, adjustments and the preamble remain open to negotiation.
What are the next steps?
We’re beginning a decisive week that will see an agreement signed, or not. If there is an agreement, will it be balanced, binding and universal. On Monday, ministers from the 195 countries again played a direct role in the negotiations. I hope that uncertainties will be cleared up and that compromises will be found. Nobody wants to be held responsible for the failure of these negotiations. The key point is that all the countries want to see an agreement that is robust and legally binding to ensure that the measures are applied. The results of the negotiations will be announced on Friday, December 11th.
Between now and then the LVMH Group will continue to contribute to the conversation, organizing a conference on “Climate & Logistics” on Wednesday, December 9th, in the “Génération Climat” village. Several Group Houses – Guerlain, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, LVMH Fragrance Brands, Moët & Chandon and Sephora – will present initiatives to internal and external publics that illustrate how LVMH is contributing to the fight against climate change. We hope to draw a big audience!