Paris climate talks: World leaders urge action as developing nations seek space to grow

As world leaders wrapped up the first day of talks at the Paris Climate Conference, many acknowledged that developing countries would need to be given more achievable goals and financial help from developed nations.
Natalie Powell, UK Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia 1 Dec 15;

PARIS: Around 150 world Leaders attended the first day of a major climate change summit in Paris, known as COP21. It was the biggest gathering of heads of state outside of the UN and has helped to drawn attention to the issue.

It is hoped that an agreement will be reached by the end of the summit to limit future temperature rises.

The message from the French President at COP21 in Paris was clear - the future of the planet is in the hands of global governments. “Never has a conference welcomed so many authorities coming from so many countries but never, and I mean never, have the stakes been so high at an international meeting because we're talking about the future of the planet, the future of the life,” said French President Francois Hollande.

Throughout the Leaders Event on Monday, heads of government pledged to address climate change and reduce emissions. But many acknowledged that developing countries would need to be given more achievable goals and financial help from developed nations.

"Countries need to increase dialogue, exchange best practices and achieve common development through mutual learning,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping. “At the same time, countries should be allowed to pursue their own solutions that best suit their respective national conditions."

Ahead of the summit, more than 180 nations had already submitted climate action plans to. “Indonesia through the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions has a commitment to reduce emissions quicker than before, so during the year of 2020 to 2030 the government of Indonesia has a commitment to reduce 29 per cent - that’s greater than before,” said Dr Agus Justianto, senior adviser to Indonesia’s minister of environment and forestry.

However it is estimated that even with the commitments already on the table, temperatures would still rise above the level of 2°C, which according to scientists would have catastrophic consequences.

World leaders agree that something needs to be done now to ensure the future of the planet. But whether or not this summit will be a turning point on climate change, will depend on what agreements can be secured by the time the conference comes to an end.

- CNA/rw

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