COP21 Kicks Off!

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30.11.2015 – Today is the day countries, world leaders, journalists and observers have been waiting for. Today, the highly anticipated 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicks off.

In preparing for Paris, more than 184 countries have submitted national climate targets covering nearly 90% of global emissions. An agreement in Paris will not be the end point, but it can be a decisive turning point in how all countries, acting together under an agreed, transparent legal framework, will set out a pathway to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius – the internationally agreed goal.

156 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These countries cover nearly 90 per cent of global carbon emissions. They are a floor for action, not a ceiling. Current estimates indicate that even if countries implement INDCs, the planet would still experience an increase in global temperature between 2.7-3.5 degrees Celsius. This is still too high, but it is better than continuing on a ‘business as usual’ path, which would result in a global temperature increase of more than 4 degrees Celsius. Some developing countries have submitted two versions of their contributions: one stating what they would do on their own, and one on what they would be able to do with financial help.

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In addition to serving as the “conscience” of the world, civil society is essential for taking climate action. At the COP, civil society provides the voice that can put pressure on leaders to come to an agreement. Businesses and companies around the world have also been at the forefront of efforts to persuade government leaders to reach a meaningful global climate agreement in Paris.

COP21-UNESCO Events in Paris this week

  • 1-4 Dec: International Conference on Water and Megacities, at UNESCO Headquarters

  • 3-4 December: Oceans Day, at Le Bourget

  • 4 December: Ministerial Side Event on Education at 1.15 pm

  • 7 December: Key Findings of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, at UNESCO Headquarters

  • 7 December: Earth to Paris with UN Foundation, at Petit Palais

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UNRICs Related Links:

·         UNFCCC News on COP21

·         UNESCO Events

·         Earth to Paris

·         What will the Paris Agreement Look Like?

·        The Lazy Persons Guide to Saving the World

 

Photo Credits:

·         Cover Photo: UNDP/S. Ahmed

·         Second Photo: JD Hancock