Global Climate Change Conference Will Continue in Paris, Despite Wave of Attacks
A series of deadly terrorist attacks that left at least 132 dead and hundreds wounded in Paris on Friday won’t deter France from hosting one of the country’s largest international conferences ever later this month to continue the war against climate change.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on Saturday that the annual United Nations conference, which will bring more than 100 world leaders, including President Barack Obama and Russian and Chinese leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, to the French capital city starting Nov. 30 will go on as scheduled, with increased security measures.
“This is an absolutely necessary step in the battle against climate change, and of course it will take place,” Fabius told reporters in Vienna a day after the extremist group Islamic State took credit for coordinated attacks that ravaged six highly trafficked sites in Paris, including a stadium and a concert hall.
While the conference will continue in the wake of the deadly attack, environmental activists are now reconsidering a massive march through the city planned for the night before the conference, Reuters reported on Sunday. Organizers will meet on Monday to assess the security risks amid the nationwide state of emergency declared Friday by French President François Hollande.
During the nearly two-week-long Conference of the Parties, now in its 21st year, global heads of state are expected to draw up a new international agreement on climate change that aims to keep global warming no more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a common scientific measure of climate stabilization. The conference comes as U.K. scientists predicted last week that the global mean temperature in 2015 would mark a 1 degree Celsius rise above preindustrial levels for the first time ever, representing what researcher Stephen Belcher called a clear move into “uncharted territory” for climate change.
Since its inaugural 1995 meeting in Berlin, the COP has convened every year in cities around the world to review the implementation of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, a document that lays out a plan of action for stabilizing greenhouse gases. Last year’s summit in Lima, Peru, resulted in a global call for increased action on climate change, including in school curricula, emissions targets, and government funding.
Despite security concerns, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal told the French political magazine Le Point that the conference was now more important than ever. “If not,” she said, according to translations in multiple English-language news reports, “terrorism wins.”