Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard some news about the COP21 conference that is currently taking place in Paris. While this isn’t the first UN Climate Conference, this is one that several world leaders, including our own President think could be a “turning point” in our global efforts to limit global warming. Over the next two weeks, the leaders of 150 nations, as well as 40,000 delegates from 195 countries are attending this conference to try and tackle climate change from a global and political level. So what makes this summit in Paris different from the one in Copenhagen in 2009? — Well like almost anything, time. Matt McGrath a BBC environmental correspondent was quick to note the change in awareness, with more positive signs pointing to agreements among nations. “The leaders fully understand the political nature, the political difficulties. They are coming here to provide maneuvering guidance,” he is quoted as saying. Key Issues that will be debated over the coming 2 weeks: Money – where the $100 billion a year in financial funding for underprivileged countries beginning in 2020 that was established at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 will come from, and how it will be distributed. Limits – the UN has endorsed a goal of limiting global warming to no more than 2-degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. Fairness – many developing nations think industrialized countries should do more to cut emissions since they’ve been polluting for much longer time period, while those industrialized countries are maintaining that the weight must be shared amongst all countries in order to effectively reach the 2C target the UN has set. The final objective: agreement across all nations on legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions meant to hold global average temperatures short of a 2 degrees’ Celsius increase over pre-industrial global temperatures. The good news is that world leaders have said that the stakes are too high to end the conference without achieving a binding agreement to slow the pace of global warming. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders gathered for the conference, “We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity.” We will be following the efforts and updates of the COP21 very closely over the next couple weeks and hoping for what President Obama is also seeking, “an agreement that helps us lift people from poverty without condemning the next generation to a planet that is beyond its capacity to repair.”

3 thoughts on “#GoCOP21”

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