Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari and World leaders meet in Paris for the United Nations (UN) climate conference known as COP21, aimed at forging a deal to limit global warming to 2C.Heads of 147 state and government are in the French capital for the start of two weeks of intense negotiations.
Monday’s agenda includes speeches by the leaders and environment ministers of a number of countries, including Germany, Iceland, Peru and Scotland.
A total of 25,000 official delegates hope to secure a legally binding accord for every country to cut carbon emissions.
The accord needs to come into effect from the year 2020, when current commitments from the Kyoto Protocol run out.
The talks hope to resolve the concerns of large developing countries, such as India, that say they are dependent on fossil fuels to spur economic growth, and richer countries, which are moving towards adopting cleaner energy sources but continue to be a big source of emissions.
Smaller and poorer countries that are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change are pressing for a deal that prioritises their safety.
French President Francois Hollande called on developed states to take ownership of the crisis and help countries threatened by changing weather patterns.
“My thoughts go out to those islands that may soon disappear…developed countries must take responsibility. They are the ones who for years emitted the most green house gases,” Hollande said.
Earlier, US President Barack Obama expressed his optimism in a Facebook post that a deal could be reached.
“What we’re trying to do in Paris is put in place a long-term framework for further emissions reductions … targets set by each nation, but transparent enough to be verified by other nations,” he said.
Al Jazeera reported that China had previously been seen as an obstacle in reaching a deal, but its leaders had recently stressed the importance of finding renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.
“China has been a big spoiler in previous climate conferences but it seems to have changed its ways and pollution is one of the reasons why … so they really want to clean up their act on that front,” Al Jazeera reported.
Obama is due to hold meetings with other world leaders during his two days in Paris, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister.
Work for the COP21 summit began to get under way on Sunday, with Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, laying out a road map for negotiations before the official opening.
The summit comes amid violent clashes between French police and anti-global warming activists who marched despite a ban on public demonstrations brought in after the Paris attacks.
Police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the protesters during one of several events urging world leader’s to take stronger measures to prevent climate change on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, in a bid to circumvent security measures implemented after the November 13 attacks, thousands of shoes were placed in the city’s sprawling central plaza to represent citizens urging a climate agreement.
Organisers of the display said that the Vatican donated a pair of shoes bearing the name of Pope Francis.
Hundreds of people also formed human chains in the late morning, interlinking arms and hands along the sidewalks between the central Place de la Republique and the Bataclan concert hall, where nearly 100 people were killed in one of the attacks.
CREDIT: NEWS OF THE PEOPLE