HELSINKI, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Veteran French politician Laurent Fabius, who chaired the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, said here Wednesday that he was concerned about the attainment of the Paris Agreement goals.
Addressing a climate summit arranged by the Finnish public think tank Sitra, Fabius said the upcoming choice of some South Asian countries to build new coal burning plants, or not, is among the crucial developments in the near future.
Whether oil producers will keep exploiting fossil resources or switch to cleaner sources will be decisive as well. He also mentioned future agricultural methods and carbon pricing in Europe were key factors.
Fabius said the U.S. announcement to pull out of the Paris Agreement sent "a very bad signal" to the rest of the world.
The Paris Agreement needs a workable program that is to be accepted in a meeting in Poland late this year, "but talks have been difficult, particularly regarding public financing," he said.
About 80 percent of the global energy mix still relies on fossil fuels, he reminded. "We are in a race against time, and there is not a moment to lose."
Opening the event, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto highlighted Finnish efforts to reduce black carbon emissions in the Arctic. Black carbon accelerates the melting of the sea ice and thus accelerates climate change.
"Unlike the long-term impact of carbon dioxide, black carbon has immediate effects. Saving the Arctic is essential in saving the globe," said Niinisto.
As the current chair of the Arctic Council, Finland is working toward a summit of heads of state of the eight Arctic Council members. "A firm high-level commitment to (cutting)black carbon emissions in the Arctic would be welcome news for the environment. And it would also benefit peace, a sense of community and trust," Niinisto said.
The Finnish president acknowledged that success is not guaranteed, "but the potential rewards are high."