World leaders meet in Paris for UN climate talks

Alyssa Lobue, Teen Interest Editor

On November 30, worldwide leaders and delegates gathered to Paris to start discussing climate change at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, or COP21. COP stands for Conference of Parties, an annual forum to try to tackle climate change on a global political level. The conference will consist of more than 150 negotiators who will examine and analyze last year’s steps towards this new deal and how continue the process. These diplomats and delegates have the goal of reaching a new global agreement that will impact every country with new policies to make the human way of life more eco-friendly.

“A political moment like this may not come again,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity.”

The two elected hosts for COP21 were decided as Christina Figueres and Laurent Fabius. Christina Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat as well as the executive secretary for The United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention.

“The Paris UN Climate Conference represents an historic opportunity to put the world on course to meet the climate change challenge,” Fagueres said. “The world needs a new model of growth that is safe, durable and beneficial to all. COP21 seeks to deliver a clear pathway with short and long term milestones, and a system to help us measure and increase progress over time until we get the job done.  The Paris Agreement is necessary and urgent. We are counting on everyone’s contribution.”

Laurent Fabius is a French Socialist. He is also the Foreign Minister of France and has previously severed as France’s Prime Minister.

“Everything must be done to make the Paris conference a success. So we, ministers and negotiators, must show ourselves equal to the challenges and to our responsibilities. Collectively, we must find the path to an ambitious compromise. Together, we can build hope.

The week began with a moment of respect dedicated to the Paris victims of the terrorist attacks on November 13. They then proceed to discuss the several possible agreements that would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. Countries with larger opportunities to be vulnerable seem to have held out for a one and a half degree deal with many observers supporting their reasoning. Important members of society have all commented on the situation such as Pope Francais, who declares the time will never be better for this action.

“We are on the brink. We are on the brink of a suicide, to use a strong word, and I am sure that most of those at the COP have this conscience, and want to do something,” he said.

Rumors of other mentioned agreements have surfaced such as a suggestion by Environment Minister Greg Hunt for France to concoct a different version of the climate deal. The highly controversial possibility could cause many developing countries to fight back, which caused Hunt to later clarify to reporters his exact meaning.

“I was referring not to a separate, new text. We do not have a different version of the agreement in its back pocket. There is no plan B,” Hunt said.

When the conference comes to an end, the delegates and diplomats will return to their homes and start the process of determining exactly how their own nations will choose to contribute to the growing cause of global warming and climate change limitation.