12 days in Paris : Day 1

By: 
François Tanguay
Record Columnist

The French government officially handed out the keys to Le Bourget to UN representatives this past Saturday. For the next 12 days, this territory will be United Nations-run. The most important Climate Summit in history is underway.
On Monday, 147 heads of state will make their formal opening statements in a remarkable diplomatic ballet. “Make it short,” they were told! They have been asked to limit their intervention to, get this, three minutes! A fair number are not known to hold too much in when it comes to speaking up. Should be fun.
The Summit is in fact a collection of events. At the core are, of course, the negotiations that will lead to the new global agreement on climate. No doubt, there will also be a Paris Deal. What remains to be seen is what will be in the box.
There is plenty of room for negotiations to get heated, such as the subject of financing less developed nations. Here it is worth mentioning that Justin Trudeau has already announced what Canada intends to contribute to the Global Climate Fund: $2.5 billion over the next five years.
Then there is the solidity of the deal. The big hope is that the final document will legally bind the signatories. Tough to do. Obama, for one, is facing an obstructionist Republican-lead Congress. China and some Southeast Asian nations are miles from providing diligent follow-ups, and, the extreme differences between the rich and the poor will complicate how finances will be distributed.
Still to be determined is what will be the extent of the Greenhouse Gas reductions? Will they be sufficient to turn humanity towards a cap that will keep us within the limits of a two-degree rise in global temperatures set by the United-Nations climate specialists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? So many questions that need an urgent and positive response.

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