Thursday, 26 November 2015

Paris Climate Summit: What's it all about?

From 30th November to 11th December 2015, representatives from over 160 countries will gather in France's capital to discuss one of the most serious issues facing our planet today: climate change. The summit has been widely covered in the press over the last few months, but what exactly is it and why is it so important?

As well as the major impact is already having on the environment, climate change also has serious implications for national and global security, poverty eradication and economic prosperity. Given the size of the problem, a global agreement is the only way we can realistically be successful in reducing global emissions.

Who will be attending?

Around 130 world leaders including the Prime Minister, environmental ministers and Government officials will attend the meeting in Paris, along with representatives from civil society and business. Leading the UK delegation will be Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

What are we hoping for from the deal?

One of the UK and EU's priorities in Paris will be attaining ambitious commitments from all parties, as well as a way of reviewing mitigation plans every 5 years in order to stay on track for reaching their 2 degree goal. Also sought from the meeting are a new set of rules so it's clear what is required from each party and it's also easy to see when a country has broken the rules. Finally, delegates will discuss the issue of climate finance to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries do their bit for climate change.

What are other countries doing?

  • In Turkey, the G20 confirmed a collective agreement that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and that 2015 is a critical year requiring effective, strong and collective action on climate change and its effects.
  • In August, President Obama confirmed details of his plan to reduce emissions from power plants by 32% on 2005 levels by 2030.
  • China made a commitment to peak emissions around 2030 and to implement a nationwide emissions trading scheme in 2017.
Paris will certainly not be the end of the road in the battle against climate change, but it will undoubtedly mark a major milestone as countries put their plans into action from 2016 and beyond.

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