France's Hollande says risk climate talks could fail

French President Francois Hollande attends his news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, September 7, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande warned on Monday that climate change talks in Paris later this year could fail especially if the issue of financing for emerging nations was not resolved.

The United Nations said on Sept. 4 that talks were on track for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit after a week of negotiations in Bonn made progress in clarifying options about everything from cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to raising aid to developing nations.

"Good intentions are there, but we are still far away from a legally binding agreement and financing that is up to the levels needed," Hollande told a news conference. "There is even a risk of failure."

Almost 200 governments agreed in 2010 that a 2 degree Celsius rise was the maximum allowable to avert the heaviest impact of climate change, including floods, droughts and rising sea levels. About 100 developing nations favor a tougher ceiling of 1.5 degrees.

The plans submitted so far to the United Nations by about 60 nations represent 70 percent of world emissions and are deemed too weak to keep temperatures below the agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times needed to avoid the worst effects of warming.

Some emerging nations do not want to commit themselves until they are assured that developing nations will receive $100 billion per year from 2020 to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Hollande said France would focus over the next three months on firming up assurances on this sum.

"It is the key. There has to be a pre-accord on the question of financing so that leaders come to Paris knowing there is certainty we will be able to conclude," Hollande said.

"If we don't conclude, and there are no substantial measures to ensure the transition, it won't be hundreds of thousands of refugees in the next 20 years, it will be millions."

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who hosted some 60 countries in the French capital on Monday to add impetus to the negotiations, said he would convene a larger ministerial meeting by mid-November to ensure that much of the work was completed before the Paris summit.

(Reporting by John Irish, Elizabeth Pineau and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)