You may not have noticed it, but in Paris the fate of our world is currently being decided. It is not how to deal with the terror that not long ago struck Paris, but it is deciding the way the world will come together to curb the ever increasing terror of climate change.
Following the November Paris terror attacks, it was quite hard to think of anything else, and even harder to hear or see anything else on the news besides speeches by countless world leaders calling for global solidarity against ISIS, armed soldiers patrolling cobbled European streets, or the victims of the terror attacks. However, not far behind the scenes world leaders were also preparing for perhaps the most important climate summit the world has ever seen: the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference hosted in Le Bourget, a suburb of Paris.
The objective of this landmark summit is to “achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world” as quoted from the summits official website. This early in the conference (it began on november 30th) it is difficult to say how the summit will turn out, but the leaders present appear to be determined to make a difference to make a livable environment for future generations. However, the question that fills the minds of many climate enthusiasts today is whether or not the summit will receive enough international attention in the aftermath of the heightened terror threat that has taken the media by storm.
Already, concerts and rallies that would have been attended by all 195 countries represented have been canceled due to the high level of terror threats in Paris. Also, public demonstrations have been forbidden, and the ones that have already tried to form have been forcefully dispersed. The media has taken hold of this negative aspect of the conference, instead of the negotiations themselves, casting a negative light on the conference as a whole. What does this mean for the outcome of the conference? Well, one of the most vital aspects of this conference is for the leaders to see and hear the feelings of the global population. This is difficult if the people in the country that the summit is hosted in are forbidden from demonstrating.
Despite the negative light shone on the summit by the global population, leaders like president Obama have stated that the continuation of the summit is a “rejection” of the terrorists the killed 129 people in Paris less than a month ago. At the opening ceremony Obama is quoted with saying “What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it and that “We have come to Paris to show our resolve.”
It can be seen that the Paris terror attacks act as a hinderance to the pivotal climate conference. However, I believe that it is more reasonable to believe that the attacks have acted as a binding factor that has brought world leaders together and created a common plane of understanding and suffering that all leader can launch their difficult negations off of. In the words of French President Hollande: “We are on the brink of a breaking point. Paris must be the start of far-reaching change. We can no longer consider nature as a pool of inexhaustible resources.Never have the stakes of an international meeting – and I say never – been higher. What is at stake is the future of the planet, of life.” It is our jobs as global citizens to keep up with the negations at this summit and tell our friends and family, because if we act united we can curb climate change and support the policies that our leaders come back from United Nations Climate Change Conference. Never before has this been so important as now.