PARIS (HAN) November 30, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News. World leaders will launch an ambitious attempt on Monday to hold back the earth’s rising temperatures, urging each other to find common cause in two weeks of bargaining meant to steer the global economy away from dependence on fossil fuels.
They arrive at United Nations climate change talks in Paris armed with promises and accompanied by high expectations. After decades of struggling negotiations marked by the failure of a previous summit in Copenhagen six years ago, some form of landmark agreement appears all but assured by mid-December.
Warnings from climate scientists, demands from activists and exhortations from religious leaders like Pope Francis, coupled with major advances in cleaner energy sources like solar power, have all added to pressure to cut the carbon emissions held responsible for warming the planet.
Most scientists say failure to agree on strong measures in Paris would doom the world to ever-hotter average temperatures, bringing with them deadlier storms, more frequent droughts and rising sea levels as polar ice caps melt.
Facing such alarming projections, the leaders of more than 150 countries responsible for about 90 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have come bearing pledges to reduce their national carbon output, though by different degrees.
Achieving an international agreement committing both rich and developing nations to the fight against global warming would mean “we can have confidence that we’re doing right by future generations,” U.S. President Barack Obama said earlier this month.
“It is the future of humanity that is at stake at this conference,” French President Francois Hollande told 20 Minutes newspaper. “History will severely judge the heads of government if, in December, they miss this opportunity.”
On the eve of the summit, hundreds of thousands of people from Australia to Paraguay joined the biggest day of climate change activism in history, telling world leaders there was “No Planet B” in the fight against global warming.
French police detained scores of protesters after violent clashes in the centre of Paris. The police fired tear gas to disperse about 200 protesters, some of them masked, who responded by hurling rocks and candles at them.
Smoothing the bumps
The leaders will gather in a vast conference centre at the Le Bourget airfield near the spot where Charles Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis aircraft in 1927 after making the first solo trans-Atlantic flight, a feat that helped bring nations closer.
Whether a similar spirit of unity can be incubated in Le Bourget this time is uncertain. In all, 195 countries are part of the unwieldy negotiating process, espousing a variety of leadership styles and ideologies that has made consensus elusive in the past. Key issues, notably how to divide the global bill to pay for a shift to renewable energy, are still contentious.
Signalling their determination to resolve the most intractable points, senior negotiators sat down on Sunday, a day earlier than originally planned, to begin thrashing out an agreement.
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