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COP 21
30 November 2015 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

World leaders meet in Paris to hammer out new climate agreement

World leaders meet in Paris to hammer out new climate agreement
World leaders have come to Paris to kickstart the crucial United Nations’ climate summit expected to forge a global agreement to limit the human-induced warming of the Earth to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. If successful, it will be the first ever climate deal to include all of the 195 nations under the umbrella of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

While limiting the global warming by 2100 goal might seem long-term, it would in fact require fast implementation of drastic decarbonization measures in order to reach negative net emissions no later than 2070. According to economists at Barclays banking group, the fossil fuel industries of coal, gas and oil could forfeit $24 trillion in revenue over the next 25 years, were the participants to agree on the initial proposals of the UNFCCC and French officials hosting the talks.

The first of many stumbling blocks for the talks appears to be the wavering resolve of India - already world’s third biggest polluter - which despite establishing itself as a solar power leader, is now looking towards coal to satisfy its skyrocketing energy demands. With, on average, a new mine being opened each month, the country is on track to increase its carbon footprint from 1.7 billion tons in 2010 to 5.3 billion by 2030.

India’s Prime Minister said it would be “morally wrong” to shift the burden of emissions reductions to developing countries, pointing out that “advanced countries powered their way to prosperity on fossil fuel when humanity was unaware of its impact”. Such claims of “carbon imperialism” are emblematic of the divide between developed and developing countries, that has dominated past climate conferences.

The crux of the problem is money. Developing countries, blaming early Western industrialism for being both a major contributor to today’s climate change problems and the source of developed countries’ wealth, are pressing for their climate change finance contribution to reach $100 billion a year by 2020 and a similar level after 2020. So far, despite that sum being agreed upon during the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, the funding fizzled out at $10 billion a year.

Following the November 13 terror attacks, heightened security measures, including a temporary ban on demonstrations, were instituted in Paris. The increased tensions have led the generally peaceful climate gathering preceding the conference to descend into clashes with police over the issue of the right of assembly, resulting in over 100 arrests.


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