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World leaders in Paris for crucial UN climate summit

November 29, 2015 20:11 IST

A key UN climate change summit that will be attended by nearly 150 world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicks off on Monday under the shadow of the deadly Paris terror attack to try to craft a long-term deal to limit carbon emissions.

Image: Pictures of flags are displayed on a screen behind the podium of a conference room at the venue for the COP21 at Le Bourget, near Paris. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/ Reuters

As Modi headed to the French capital setting the tone for the summit with his remark on Sunday that it is the responsibility of all to work against global warming, UN chief Ban Ki-moon underlined the need for a durable universal deal to address rising green house gas emissions.

"...In the Summit, we will deliberate on crucial issues relating to environment & climate change," Modi tweeted just before his departure from India.

Modi also utilised his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' to say that the whole world is "worried" about climate change.

"There are discussions everywhere over it and concerns are being expressed.... The temperature of the Earth should not increase now. It is the responsibility and concern of all," he said, as leaders started arriving in Paris for the 12-day summit being held under the shadow of unprecedented security cover after the recent carnage that killed 130 people.

Besides Modi, other leaders including US President Barack Obama, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin will attend on Monday the official start of the UN conference, tasked with reaching the first truly universal climate pact.

The Paris Climate Conference from November 30 to December 11 will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Modi will inaugurate the Indian pavilion at the crucial summit.

He will also deliver a speech on India's stand on the issue and also showcase India's harmony with nature, environment and commitment to mitigate climate change.

Modi will also jointly launch the International Solar Alliance with French President Francois Hollande on Monday.

A large number of heads of state, heads of government and ministers of several countries and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are expected to be present at the launch of the international solar alliance, a concept conceived by Modi.

"At the @COP21 will inaugurate India Pavilion, showcasing India's harmony with nature, environment & commitment to mitigate climate change," he tweeted.

The gathering of nearly 150 heads of state and government is set to be far bigger than the 115 or so who came to Copenhagen in 2009, the last time the world came close to greeing a long term deal on climate change.

"I expect the world to conclude a universal climate agreement in Paris. The agreement must be durable – it should provide a comprehensive, long-term vision of the opportunities created by low-emission, climate-resilient development and flexible. It must be rooted in solidarity," Ban told PTI.

As observers said the recent terror attack here will increase the chances of a new agreement, thousands of protesters joined hands near the heart of the carnage, demanding world leaders try to save Earth from a climate catastrophe.

The human chain was aimed to send a highly symbolic message to leaders on the eve of the official opening of the 195-nation UN climate summit.

President Obama is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Modi on the first day of the Paris summit as part of the US' effort to work with "key players" for a strong global deal on climate change.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Power Minister Piyush Goyal will also be present at the summit.

There are over 100 countries which are solar-rich, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and the countries, all potential members of the Alliance share the vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all.

Prime Minister Modi will also attend 'Mission Innovation' being hosted by President Obama.

On the climate change issue, India has been saying that developed countries have been the major polluters over centuries and should assume greater role in fighting global warming by funding and transferring low-cost technology to developing nations.

Ahead of the climate change summit, India and a host of other countries have pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 per cent from the 2005 level.

In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution also known as climate action plans which has been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has laid stress on increase of renewable energy.

India has announced that it aims at achieving around 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

Earlier on Sunday in Malta, India and a select group of countries said they will provide USD 2.5 million for the vulnerable nations in the Commonwealth to help them introduce clean energy and reduce green-house gas emission

The announcement was made on the second day of the biennial summit of the Commonwealth whose membership includes powerful countries like Britain, Australia, Canada, Singapore and small island nations such the Maldives, Tonga and Nauru.

"India has announced USD 2.5 million for the Commonwealth small states trade finance facility. As you are aware, Commonwealth has 31 small states as its members out of the 53 countries and trade finance is very important to them," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The summit which is also called the Conference of Parties is witnessing the participation of all heads of states in the beginning of the event as the French government did not want a situation like COP in Copenhagen where all the leaders came at the end of the conference which could not decide on anything concrete.

The French government has made elaborate arrangements for the the summit which is taking place at Le Bourget.

The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

Elaborate arrangements have also been made for media and around 3,000 journalists from across the globe are expected to attend the conference.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters joined hands near the heart of the Paris terror attacks demanding world leaders try to save Earth from a climate catastrophe.

The human chain aimed to send a highly symbolic message to leaders on the eve of the official opening of the 195-nation UN climate summit.

French authorities cancelled two climate demonstrations following the attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers which killed 130 people across the city on November 13.

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