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World Leaders Arrive at Paris Climate Summit Amidst Record Breaking Public Calls for Strong Deal

Over 130 Heads of State have arrived in Paris to kick off two weeks of negotiations which should result in a comprehensive, ambitious, and universal climate agreement, and as negotiations kick off, countries are working find accordance on key issues, reads a Climate Action Network (CAN) press release.

Revised figures show that on the weekend the biggest ever climate marches were held with over 785,000 people gathering in 175 countries to issue a strong call for climate action, and almost 1.8 million people of faith signed a petition for compassionate climate action. Around the world, public support is greater than ever for a deal that brings emissions down, helps at-risk communities adapt to climate impacts, and addresses the inevitable loss and damage from the unavoidable changes already happening in every country. 

During the talks, governments will need to have productive talks and reach early breakthroughs on issues like finance, loss and damage, adaptation, and the long-term goal. Global leaders from the business, faith, national security, health, and justice communities will continue to put the pressure on the governments to turn this public momentum into political progress. 

On the ground in Paris, CAN members made the following comments: 

“This moment in time feels incredibly powerful and incredibly different than how it was before the Copenhagen talks, not so long ago. We have the people of the world behind us coming into this meeting, with record numbers of people from all walks of life marching in the streets. We’re at a different place in the energy sector—before Copenhagen, solar power was 50 percent more expensive. We need three things to achieve major change: an activist base, a permissive majority, and political will. We’ve got the world’s support, but we’re here to find out whether the politicians can recognize the momentum and bring political will.”

-Keya Chatterjee, USCAN


“It is the suffering of vulnerable countries that has led to us being here in Paris to tackle climate change. But the cruel irony is that, as it stands now, the Paris deal won’t be enough for them. The current pledges add up to about a 2.7 degree world, when these countries need a 1.5 degree one to survive. It’s like when a lizard’s tail is caught by a predator—it will break it off so that it can escape. These vulnerable countries are in danger of becoming the lizard’s tail, and of being sacrificed while the rest of the world escapes the perils of climate change.” 

-Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid

“This won’t be a walk in the park to a new agreement. This is crunch time, and brutal negotiations are about to kick off, because lives are on the line. We need to have a long-term goal to phase out fossil fuel emissions, because we need to know where this agreement is leading us. Also, everyone knows there needs to be money on the table, but no one knows yet how much or who is going to pay. Developed countries say they want to see new countries starting to contribute, but the question is, if rich countries get signals that other countries are willing to complement their efforts, will they respond by committing to new numbers?”

-Tim Gore, Oxfam

In Copenhagen, Heads of State arrived at the end, and all they could do was to try and stop a sinking ship. That ship is no longer sinking. The 150 Heads of States in Paris today have the opportunity to be the compass and provide the wind for our sails, that will lead this ship to a safer climate future.  The destination is clear: keeping average temperature increase well below 20C to have a chance to avoid irreversible impacts for planet and humanity.”

-Pierre Cannet, WWF France

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