UN conference on climate change begins in France

France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), from 30 November to 11 December 2015. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C.

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French President Francois Hollande (centre) poses for a photo with fellow world leaders during the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, on Monday. | Photo: Reuters

Civil society, relegated largely to the sidelines, is stressing the urgency of reaching a meaningful, just, and binding deal. Several high-profile delegates began addressing the audience at the COP21 conference in the town of Le Bourget, about 65 miles north of Paris Monday morning. And in the meantime, amid intense security measures coming just two and half weeks after the deadly terror attacks in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 people, the 147 world leaders began addressing the plenary.

The opening follows huge marches around the world demanding that leaders take concrete steps to combat climate change. While 40,000 people will be in attendance with some 3,000 journalists, along with scientists and exhibitors.