paris dispatch 1

happy to include guardian environment editor’s
daily notes from COP21 paris climate conference
adam vaughan, you sure keep us all onguard

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Dear Jim,

We promised you last week that we’d send regular dispatches from the Paris climate talks. Here is our first from the desk, so to speak. At the email’s end you’ll find my recommended reading list.

I have spent the day editing and watching MORE THAN A HUNDRED WORLD LEADERS PROMISE THE EARTH ON CLIMATE CHANGE. From Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to the heads of tiny Pacific island states, they took the stage in Paris today to tell the world they would act. The rhetoric was lofty, planetary, grave.

“Here in Paris we will decide on the very future of the planet,” said FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE the president of France. “One of the enemies we will be fighting at this conference is cynicism – the presumption that we can’t do anything about climate change,” said US president, Barack Obama. The fact that the climate summit had gone ahead at all WAS AN ACT OF DEFIANCE AGAINST THE TERRORISTS BEHIND THE PARIS ATTACKS OF 13 NOVEMBER. he said. Others talked of ensuring the future of the human race, of leaving a safe planet for future generations. The fight against climate change was a fight for survival, several said.

The sheer number of heads of state in Paris – nearly 150 leaders – bodes well for any climate deal’s prospects. But whether today’s strong rhetoric translates into strong action remains to be seen.

From Tuesday the summit will switch down to the nitty gritty of negotiatiors trying to turn a 50-page text into a deal that 195 countries can agree on, in less that a fortnight. As UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON put it, the time for brinkmanship is over. “We have never faced such a test. A political momentum like this may not come again.”

Adam Vaughan
Editor, THEGUARDIAN.COM/ENVIRONMENT

Want to find out more about the Paris climate talks? Here’s my essential reading list:

* __THE PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT AT A GLANCE

* __FIONA HARVEY ON CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, THE WOMAN TASKED WITH SAVING THE WORLD

* __SUZANNE GOLDENBERG DELVES INTO THE TALKS’ COLOURFUL HISTORY

* __USE OUR DATA INTERACTIVE TO SEE WHICH COUNTRIES ARE DOING THE MOST IN THEIR CLIMATE PLANS

* __PARIS BY NUMBERS – FROM ONE NEGOTIATING TEXT TO 196 PARTIES

 

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