Obama urges climate deal

'What greater rejection for those who would tear down our world then marshaling our best efforts to save it,' says US president in Paris

Obama urges climate deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. President Barack Obama told world leaders that the Paris Conference, the COP21, could be the turning point in dealing with the climate change issue.

Addressing the world leaders on the first day of the conference Monday, Obama described the summit as an "act of defiance" following Nov. 13 terror attacks that claimed 130 lives in Paris.

"An act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children," he said. "What greater rejection for those who would tear down our world then marshaling our best efforts to save it."

"We have come to Paris to show our resolve. We offer our condolences for the barbaric attacks on this beautiful city.  We stand united in solidarity. We salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on," Obama said.

The head of the world's second largest climate polluter said the COP21 "could be the turning point".

"For all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other [issue]," Obama said.

"No nation [...] is immune," he said.

Obama said he saw the effect of climate change this summer in Alaska "where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times". 

"It was a preview of one possible future: our children’s fate," he said. "That future is not one of strong economies, nor of one where fragile states can find their footing. That future is one we have the power to change. Right here. Right now." 

"America not only acknowledges its role in climate change but embraces doing something about it," Obama added.

Obama said that a deal should "have ambition, regularly updated targets, taken into account differences each nation is facing, a strong system of transparency to give countries confidence that others are meeting their commitments".

"We know the truth, that many nations have contributed little to climate change but will be the first to feel its most destructive effects. For some island nations, climate change is a threat to their very existence," he said.

He said the U.S. will pledge new contributions to least developed countries fund Tuesday.

The delegates of the 196 parties will hold meetings and discussions from Dec. 1 to Dec. 6 in a bid to strike a deal on carbon emissions regulations meant to keep the global average temperature within two degrees Celsius of what it was at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

They will try to narrow down the draft text issued at the end of the last session in Bonn. A second week is reserved for political negotiations to hammer out eventual disagreements.

The key issues to be determined in Paris will be the system to review and scale up emission reductions over time, together with a long-term goal, climate finance, a loss and damage mechanism and the legal force of the “Paris Agreement”.

The negotiations will conclude on Dec. 9 in order to carry out legal and linguistic verifications of the agreement text in six UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) and decisions will be adopted on Dec. 10.

The Paris Agreement will be officially adopted on Dec. 11. The signing is not planned for the same day, but for early 2016, during a ceremony organized by the United Nations secretary-general.

An estimated 150 heads of states, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama are attending the conference. Earlier in the day, French President Francois Hollande, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal welcomed the world leaders at the entrance of the conference venue in Le Bourget, a northeastern suburb of the capital, Monday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2015, 17:00
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