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Postcards from Paris: A diary from the UN climate talks (Days 1 & 2)


I’m in Paris or the UN climate talks, which run from 30 November to 11 December. I’ll be regularly tweeting and blogging. If you find this blog interesting please feel to share it.


DAYS 1&2 (Monday 30 November & Tuesday 1 December 2015)

COP21 kicked off on Monday with 150 heads of state addressing the world. It was an unprecedented moment and came with much anticipation following the incredible weekend mass mobilisation of 785,000 people marching for climate justice and action.

The people have asked to be heard and our leaders need to listen. The strong political signals made by leaders were helpful. They helped set the tone. They let the negotiators know which direction they have to go in. However, we all know that we still have to get a fair, ambitious and transformational agreement and there are still several issues still to be agreed during the next two weeks.

President Obama addresses the UN climate talksPresident Obama addresses the UN climate talks (Credit: UNFCC)

Come Tuesday and it was down to the real business here in Paris.

Negotiators began ploughing through the draft agreement text section by section, with the aim of handing over a much shorter, cleaned up version of the text to Ministers in time for next week’s high-level section.

Hopefully the leaders’ opening speeches were still ringing in their ears; speeches which effectively said that addressing the needs of those particularly vulnerable to climate impacts must be at the centre of any agreement. We also heard from nearly every developing country that addressing issues of equity and fairness will be key to unlocking more progress.

In fact, it feels very much to me as if it’s the developing countries that have been showing the way at the start of these talks.

Tuesday saw African leaders and governments unveil a truly transformational plan to drive energy access across the continent by 2020. And then, over a period of 10 years, aims to install double the total amount of clean renewable electricity capacity than exists on the continent today.

It followed a potentially game-changing announcement the previous day from India concerning plans for a new alliance to provide solar energy access to people living in poverty. The collaboration will involve nearly 100 countries aiming to reach billions of people.

Plans to expand solar power were unveiled in Paris.Plans to expand solar power were unveiled in Paris.

Both these announcements underline how poverty and climate change can – and must – be tackled simultaneously.

It seems clear that, outside of these talks at least, that the citizens, and many governments and businesses are ready to move forward in addressing climate change.

I very much hope that some of that positivity and energy rubs off on the negotiators here in Paris.

For all the latest on the climate talks be sure to follow @LangBanks on Twitter.

You can also read previous ‘Postcards form Paris here:  DAY 0

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