Paris climate summit must deliver long-term framework: US

Rice said the world is in a position to achieve a meaningful agreement in Paris.

Washington: Ahead of the crucial Paris climate summit, the United States has said the much-awaited global meet must deliver a long-term transparent framework that ratchets down future emissions over time.

Days after India set the ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions relative to its GDP by 33 per cent to 35 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, the US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, said that setting ambitious targets is essential, but it is not nearly enough.

Her comment was not India specific.

"Paris must deliver a long-term framework that ratchets down future emissions over time - one where all countries commit to act, consistent with their circumstances, and where strong transparency and accountability measures apply to everyone," Rice said in a major climate change speech at Stanford University.

"Paris must also support poor countries as they continue developing on a low-carbon trajectory. We are already more than 60 per cent of the way toward meeting our goal of mobilising USD 100 billion in public and private sector climate financing for developing countries by 2020. That is important progress, but we have got more to do, including in Washington," she said.

But after two decades of negotiations, Paris is the best opportunity to shift approach toward climate change permanently and to embrace cooperative solutions to a truly global problem, she said, adding that Paris meet is the 21st gathering of the international community to address climate change.

In her remarks, Rice said the world is in a position to achieve a meaningful agreement in Paris.

Last year, the United States and China - the world's two largest economies and two largest emitters - surprised the world with an historic announcement, which broke the long-standing barriers separating the way developing and developed economies approach climate change.

"Both our countries set ambitious new emissions targets. The United States committed to reduce our emissions 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025, doubling the pace at which we are cutting emissions now," she said.

"For the first time, China committed to peak its total emissions around 2030 and to set ambitious targets for rolling out clean energy. And, last month, during President Xi's state visit, both our countries unveiled concrete plans for achieving those targets," she noted.

"Strong US leadership has spurred other nations to make bold commitments as well. We have now secured ambitious post-2020 targets from more than 140 countries representing more than 85 per cent of global emissions.

Major emitters like the EU, Brazil, and Mexico have been joined by small island nations and least developed countries, all pledging to do their part," she said.

Stating that climate change is a direct threat to the prosperity and safety of the American people, Rice reiterated that it will impact country's national defence.

Rice said that climate change is also a "threat multiplier", which means, even if climate change is not the spark that directly ignites conflict, it increases the size of the powder keg, she said.

As a result of climate change, she said there is international spread of diseases and mounting threats to global health.

Already, more mosquito-borne diseases are spreading from the tropics to temperate zones as climates warm. Viruses like West Nile and Chikungunya are growing more prevalent in the United States, she said.

"India is currently in the grip of the worst dengue fever outbreak in years. Livestock diseases are expanding northward into Europe. These advancing diseases cost billions of dollars a year to treat and contain, not to mention the immeasurable cost in human lives and suffering," Rice said.

"Finally, we cannot dismiss the worst-case predictions of catastrophic, irreparable damage to our environment. If the Greenland ice sheet melts, seas could rise not just the one to four feet many scientists predict, but eventually as much as 20 feet.

If the oceans continue to acidify, it will devastate the marine biome destroying coral reefs, compromising the food chain, and imperiling a major source of protein for 3 billion people worldwide," Rice said. 

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