French president urges steps to avoid environmental 'catastrophe'

France's president says the world is headed for an environmental catastrophe unless leaders begin serious work on renewable energy and other eco-friendly initiatives.

The message from Francois Hollande opened the Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with policymakers and experts in green technology.

But his one-day visit is dominated by meetings with defense officials and others as France seeks to sell up to 60 Rafale fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

Hollande speech at the energy summit made no mention of France's airstrikes in Mali against Islamist insurgents.

He concentrated on environment themes, including calls for more investments in renewable energy and efforts for energy efficiency in older cities. He predicted the world faces "a catastrophe very soon" unless urgent measures are taken on the environment.