COP21: World Climate Change Conference 2015 begins with 95% of 183 countries submitting plans to limit global warming 2.7-3.5 degrees Celsius

By @vitthernandez on
COP21 Whale Sculpture
Workers construct a giant whale sculpture along the side of the river Seine, ahead of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21), in Paris, France, November 29, 2015. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

It will be Cyber Monday in the US in a few hours when consumers scramble to get the best online deals offered by ecommerce sites. In France, there is also a wide range of choices available insofar as the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) that begins on the same day.

As of Saturday, 183 out of 196 nations, which comprise 95 percent of the countries participating in COP21, have submitted plans how they plan to reduce emissions. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says their plans to limit global warning ranges from 2.7 to 3.5 degrees Celsius, reports LA Times.

It is significantly higher than the 2-degree threshold scientists have identified as the level majority of the worst effects of climate change could be avoided. However, in Paris, it would be the UN Climate Change Agency which would oversee the two-week summit that aims to craft the broadest, most lasting deal to slow global warming, notes the Boston Herald.

World leaders, led by US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others, are attending the high-stakes talk amid very tight security due to the Nov. 13 terror attacks in the City of Lights that killed 130 people.

Beyond what they would agree after two weeks of tough negotiations, Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, stresses that the world should not be locked “into place that countries have put on the table.” That’s because of the high chance that the goals to be set would not meet the 2-degree target.

Beyond setting a goal, Meyer says that Paris participants must ensure that countries regularly revisit the terms of whatever deal they reach. By 2020, he pushed for an initial review of where the world is and what can be done further to lift an ambition. Countries need to be prepared to review and revise upward their initial offers, Meyer adds.

There is a noticeable change from the 1997 Kyoto Conference to COP21 as the complicated question on how to determine responsibilities among nations is raised, specifically what the developed nations must do to help developing nations – many of which are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change – address the issue without affecting their potential for economic growth.

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