So COP21 is nearly upon us, with Heads of State and diplomats and experts being welcomed on Sunday before the conference formally kicks off on Monday. Day 1 will see Laurent Fabius officially elected as President of the Conference and the opening ceremony taking place, before the real discussions and negotiations begin on Tuesday. The opening ceremony will include speeches by some of the most influential world leaders including David Cameron, Barack Obama, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Prince Charles has also announced that he too will address the conference.
The Paris attacks have understandably overshadowed COP21. However, world leaders have refused to let events prevent what is hoped to be a historic occasion. Obama has urged “every country, every leader, to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business.” Nicolas Hulot, François Hollande’s special envoy for the environment, has also expressed hope that the attacks may inspire world leaders to “reinforce their focus on the planet” and take a collective stand, whilst Hollande himself said "the international climate conference will not only go ahead, but will bring hope and solidarity."
US Secretary of State John Kerry has recently cast doubt over the outcome of the conference stating that COP21 will not lead to a legally binding treaty. However, Hollande hit back at the claim stating defiantly that "if the agreement is not legally binding, there will be no agreement." This kind of disparity in views is going to make negotiations difficult, especially as 196 parties are involved!
Despite the scepticism of some political figures, it is encouraging to learn that business appears to support the goals of the conference. The ICC has published the 'business view' on COP21 and it calls for ambitious and verifiable market-based instruments for greenhouse gas abatement. This, it is argued, is essential in instilling business confidence and encouraging investment.
It is going to very interesting monitoring the progress of the conference over these next two weeks and seeing whether the determination shown by so many to achieve a legally binding world agreement can bring about a much-needed world strategy on tackling climate change.
Please click here to download the COP21 Schedule of events