Leaders begin work in Paris UN Climate Change talks

30 November 2015
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Senior negotiators have arrived in Paris to begin work at a summit level to curb climate change on Monday, as part of a UN global meeting.

The United Nations conference begins on Monday, when more than 150 heads of state and government – including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping – will attend talks at a sprawling complex north of the French capital.

To signal determination to resolve the most intractable issues, expert negotiators sat down on Sunday rather than after Monday’s high-level speeches, as originally planned.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the aim was to give the world the means to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times or even 1.5 degrees.

That would avoid the most devastating consequences of global warming, such as rising sea-levels and desertification.

Referring to previous UN conferences that have dragged on days beyond the official close, Fabius said relying on “a last-night miracle” could risk failure. Progress must be made every day.

“The process cannot be chaotic. We owe it to ourselves and to the world to conclude the process in an orderly and respectful manner,” he said.

France, as well as hosting the Paris talks, formally takes on leadership of the UN process for a year from Monday.

Governments hope the Paris summit will end on 11 December in a deal that will herald a shift from rising dependence on fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution to cleaner energies such as wind or solar power.

Hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday joined rallies across the globe, telling leaders gathering for the summit there is “No Planet B” in the fight against global warming.

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