Climate change conference officially opens

The climate change conference officially opens as France’s Laurent Fabius is officially elected President of the United Nations Conference of the Parties or COP21.

LE BOURGET, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 30, 2015) (HOST BROADCASTER) – France formally took on leadership for a year of the United Nations process of thrashing out a new global deal to curb climate change from Monday (November 30).

Peru’s Environment Minister and the president of COP20, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal handed over the presidency to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Pulgar-Vidal expressed optimism that the summit would lead to an agreement to combat climate change.

“Probably you have been already aware that I am wearing the same tie that I wore in the opening of the COP20 one year ago. It is not because I don’t have some other ties. But it is because I want to transmit to you a good and a strong signal of hope. A strong signal that we can do it, and a strong signal that it is possible to face the consequences of climate change through an agreement,” he said.

“Currently, the world is facing two big threats: climate change and terrorism. And I am completely sure that dealing with our objective in reaching what we are seeking to have an agreement, it is the only way, not only to face the climate change threat but also the terrorism threat,” he said.

Fabius said there was a lot of work ahead. “The world is looking at us, and there is a lot of hope. It’s our role to put up and accept our responsibility.”

Weeks of preparatory talks this year have struggled to reduce a negotiating text, which is still more than 50 pages long.

The most difficult issues include working out how to share the burden of taking action between rich and poor nations, how to finance the cost of adapting to global warming and the legal format of any final text.

But both Fabius and Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, acknowledged the fact that the world’s expectations are high for this conference.

Governments hope the Paris summit will end on December 11 in a deal that will herald a shift from rising dependence on fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution to cleaner energies such as wind or solar power.

Also speaking at the opening session, Britain’s Prince Charles pointed to the world’s failure to tackle climate change as a root cause of terrorism and the consequent refugee crisis engulfing Europe.

“Humanity faces many threats but none is greater than climate change. It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to remain healthy and safe from extreme weather, to manage the natural resources that support our economies and to avert the humanitarian disaster of mass migration and increasing conflict,” he said.

The Paris summit is being held under tight security after attacks in Paris by Islamic State two weeks ago killed 130 people.