PARIS – It is the last call to save the planet and to ensure that the next generations have a future: the UN climate conference in Paris “cannot fail”. It is imperative that an agreement is reached in order to avoid environmental catastrophe, and it can be achieved “here and now”. The shared sense of urgency can be felt in the speeches of all the world leaders involved in COP21 in Paris, which focuses on the climate.
The starting point
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN, has outlined the need to limit the global temperature rise to “below 2 degrees” with a “binding” agreement. The road to achieving this, however, will not be easy. US President Barack Obama urged, “That future is one that we have the power to change. Right here. Right now. [...] We are the last generation that can do something about it.” He reiterated the United States’ commitment to reducing emissions by 26-28% over the next decade, compared to 2005 levels, and to increasing funding for the most vulnerable countries, pledging $248 million together with 10 other states, including Italy. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who insisted on the $100 billion a year in support for developing countries, also described COP21 as a “starting point”.
Request for a binding agreement
A “legally binding” agreement to limit global temperature rise to “2 degrees” was also explicitly called for by Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Whilst Europe is relatively united on this front, with commitments already made to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated that an assumption of “political responsibility” is required on a global level. As explained by the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who highlighted the concrete results already achieved by Italy in the fight against climate change, in order to achieve this we need an agreement that is “as binding as possible” and that anything else would remain “written in sand”. This, Cameron stressed, is “not difficult, it’s doable”.
by editorial staff