Global Leaders Gather to Address Climate Change

In Paris, France, a significant event has taken place with the gathering of 150 world leaders aimed at tackling one of the most critical challenges of our era – climate change. The 21st edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) dubbed as COP21 is an historical occasion where nations have come together to create new paths towards safeguarding the earth and its inhabitants through a fresh universal accord.

At the start of the summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the magnitude of this occasion stating that it could be the last chance for leaders to shape the destiny of the coming generations. He proclaimed, “You are writing the script for a new future.” The gravity of the situation was further highlighted when Ban Ki-moon stated, “We have never faced such a test, but neither have we encountered such a fantastic opportunity… You possess the power to ensure the prosperity of this and subsequent generations.”

In preparation for COP21, participant countries furnished voluntary contributions termed as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UNFCCC, the United Nations body responsible for coordinating the event. These INDCs will serve as the foundation for the impending agreement anticipated to be finalized within two weeks.

As of today, more than 180 nations have presented their climate plans accounting for nearly 100% of global emissions. Ban Ki-moon informed the assembly that a substantial universal agreement is vital since even a slight rise of 2 degrees Celsius would lead to grave repercussions such as scarcity of food and water, economic disruption, and international strife.

All countries recognize that climate change poses a mounting threat to growth, poverty alleviation initiatives, and the overall well-being of citizens. Its effects are currently apparent across every continent. Data provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals that global greenhouse gas emission rates continue to escalate, putting the world on track for a temperature increase surpassing the target of restricting the rise to 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed upon to minimize the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.

Last year was recorded as the warmest year in history while 14 of the past 15 years rank among the top 15 warmest years ever observed. Global sea levels keep rising, polar ice continues to shrink, and intense weather incidents such as prolonged droughts and flooding occur with increased frequency.

Individuals interested in contributing to combatting climate change can access the COP21 web portal to determine ways they can incorporate environmentally conscious actions into their daily routines. For those seeking to gain deeper knowledge regarding the negotiations surrounding a comprehensive, legally binding pact, they can consult the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website. Moreover, individuals can join the Action/2015 civil society movement to have their voices amplified in the fight against climate change.

Public access to view COP21 proceedings throughout the upcoming two weeks can be found via the following link: