VIDEO: 10 things you need to know about the Paris summit on climate change
1. Conference of Paris/COP 21: The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21 or CMP 11) will be held in Le Bourget, Paris, from November 30 to December 11. The conference is expected to hammer out on a legally binding agreement on climate change.
2. Who is attending? Heads of state from 147 nations will address the summit on November 30 and more than 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, who are responsible for carbon emissions that exceed 90 percent of the world’s total, will negotiate a deal on greenhouse-gas reductions to bring to a halt the planet’s rising temperatures. Private individuals such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, founders of Microsoft and Facebook, respectively, are also attending the conference.
3. Climate change: 2015 has already been named the hottest year in the world’s history. According to NASA, the average temperature of Earth’s surface has increased by 0.8˚ Of this, 0.6˚C occurred in last three decades. Since the industrial revolution in 1750, the concentration of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing and has surged beyond affordable levels. With more than 30 percent increase, CO2 concentration is now higher than it has been at any time in at least 800,000 years. Scientists believe that with the fast-rising temperatures, the world will see deadlier storms, more frequent droughts and rising sea levels as polar ice caps melt.
4. Protests: Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Paris and other cities. Their message to the leaders attending the crucial conference was “No Planet B” in the fight against global warming.
5. Goals: The leaders will push for a deal that would prevent the threat of dangerous warming due to human activities from rising beyond 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. If more than 180 countries get away with their current national plans, the world will see temperatures rise by up to 2.7˚C by 2030. Meanwhile, more than 100 countries, including the 48 members of the least developed countries (LDC) group, will propose a global target of 1.5˚
6. Copenhagen failure: The 1997 Kyoto protocol had set to limit carbon emissions by 37 rich countries, but it failed miserably as the world’s largest emitters, including the US and China, were not a part of the agreement and countries such as Canada, Russia and Japan abandoned it later. At the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen, a majority felt that a few players were making the plans on behalf of all while an agreement was lacking. Also, there was not a legally binding contract that all the attendees had to adhere to.
7. What to expect: A host of significant announcements by the conference, various governments and private entities. The focus of the conference will be on clean energy.
8. Money involved: Climate change efforts mean a trillion dollars for the world’s 48 poorest countries, according to figures from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). As of 2020, these nations will need some $93 billion a year, which includes $53.8bn annually to reduce emissions and $39.9bn to deal with more extreme weather and rising seas. Meanwhile, the World Bank has launched a $500 million market-based scheme to help developing countries pay for emission reductions and combat climate change.
9. Clean energy: Many countries and private entities have announced their investment plans and vision for clean energy. Bill Gates, for example, plans to invest $1bn in low-cost, clean-energy projects, while Mark Zuckerberg announced similar investment plans to kick off as of 2020. On the other hand, a group of 20 countries will, under the Mission Innovation plan, seek to double their investment in clean-energy research over a period of five years. Moreover, France and India will announce a global alliance of 100 countries working together to boost solar energy efforts.
10. The Middle East on climate change: Countries in the region have announced several projects for sourcing energy from non-fossil resources. The UAE has been ramping up its efforts to diversify energy sources and has plans to invest $35bn in clean energy projects by 2021. Dubai launched the AED100bn ($27.2bn) Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide seven percent of the emirate’s energy from sustainable sources by 2020, raising that to 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050.