The Business Times

Summit in Paris presents best chance yet of climate change deal

Published Wed, Nov 25, 2015 · 09:50 PM

NEXT Monday, Paris will once again be the focus of the world's attention. A little over a fortnight after the French capital was the target of simultaneous terror attacks that left 129 people dead, the city will play host to more than 130 world leaders - including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping - for the United Nations Climate Change Summit that begins on Nov 30 and runs until Dec 11.

Hopes are high that this meeting - held towards the end of what will likely be the hottest year on record by some distance - will finally make that all-important breakthrough and secure a global deal, which has so far been elusive. The signs are more promising than ever: to date, more than 166 countries, which collectively account for more than 90 per cent of emissions, have submitted national climate plans with firm targets. While these measures put the world on course for a projected 3 deg C rise in temperature by the end of this century, this is still considered too high by the UN's standards. The hope is that further steps can be taken at the upcoming summit to limit the rise to 2 deg C.

A chief reason for more optimism about the prospect of a breakthrough in Paris is the fact that the world's three largest emitters - the US, China and India - have shown greater resolve to deal with climate change, for no global deal can realistically be effective without them on board. Indeed, the US and China were both perceived as a drag on the Copenhagen process six years ago, when the high hopes for a legal pact were dashed at the last minute. China has since embarked on a series of aggressive emission-reduction steps in recent years, while India's commitment to the cause is to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of its economy. The US, on its part, announced last year its target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.


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