On Monday November 29th more than 190 countries led by 150 heads of state took part in the start of the most important climate talks in history. Prior to the opening of the climate summit more than 4000 companies, cities, regions and investors have already committed to set emission reduction goals.
On the weekend before the commencement of COP21 we saw one of the biggest climate mobilizations ever in history. In total over 785,000 people marched last weekend in over 2,000 places around the world as part of the Global Climate March.
On Monday a petition with a million signatures called for 100 percent clean energy. It was presented by the President of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, who then carried them to heads of state as talks began.
A number of world leaders spoke on opening day from Barack Obama to Xi Jinping. Everyone pledged that they would act to combat climate change and secure a global climate agreement.
“Here in Paris we will decide on the very future of the planet,” said Francois Hollande, the president of France. “One of the enemies we will be fighting at this conference is cynicism – the presumption that we can’t do anything about climate change,” said US president, Barack Obama.
World leaders appeared to appreciate the gravity of the next ten days. They talked about the importance of ensuring the future of the human race and working for a healthy planet for future generations. The fight against climate change was quite rightly characterized as a fight for survival.
Prince Charles said, “In damaging our climate we become the architects of our destruction.”
Starting on the morning of Tuesday December 1, delegates and world leaders will get to work in an effort that is intended to culminate in the signing of a global climate agreement by the end of the summit on December 11.
It will not be easy to get everyone to sign-on and many challenges must be overcome. However as UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said now is the time to act, “we have never faced such a test. A political momentum like this may not come again.”
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