Paris Summit to proceed in wake of terror attacks

James S Murray
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Figueres: 'Of course #COP21 proceeds as planned. Even more so now'

French and UN officials have confirmed the Paris Climate Summit will proceed as planned in the wake of the terror attacks on Friday that left over 130 dead and 300 wounded.

Speaking to reporters in the wake of the attacks, France's top climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana said the UN meeting, which will bring together an estimated 40,000 ministers, officials, business leaders, activists, and media, will start on November 30th as planned.

She said "enhanced" security measures would be put in place in response to the terror atrocities.

Writing on Twitter, UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres said it was crucial the summit continues. "Of course #COP21 proceeds as planned. Even more so now. #COP21 = respecting our differences & same time acting together collaboratively," she wrote.

Separate reports confirmed President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry still plan to attend the summit.

However, it remains unclear if a climate march planned for November 28 will now take place.

Green groups, which had hoped to bring hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of Paris to highlight public support for an ambitious climate deal, will reportedly meet today to discuss whether to proceed with the march. They are expected to take their lead from the French government as to whether the march can proceed.

Reuters reported that the groups were considering boosting parallel marches that had been planned for other cities, including Sydney, Tokyo, London and New Delhi.

Meanwhile, this weekend former US vice president Al Gore announced the planned Live Earth and 24 Hours of Reality events would be suspended "out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris".

Similarly, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told local radio that a number of side events planned alongside the summit would be scaled back or cancelled in wake of the attacks.

A manhunt is continuing across Europe for one of the suspects in Friday's terror atrocities, while French security services made a series of dawn raids and arrests this morning with reports suggesting a major weapons cache was discovered.

The attacks on Paris overshadowed this weekend's G20 meeting in Turkey, where leaders are scheduled to discuss final plans for the Paris Summit, as well as long-standing efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and new proposals for a global Financial Stability Board to address so-called 'carbon bubble' risks.

On Friday, the Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) on climate change called on the G20 to make good on its long-standing pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

"The G20 has the opportunity to convey the long-term direction in which public investment is heading," said Sandrine Dixson-Declève, director of the CLG. "With energy prices at an all-time low, now is the right time to phase out fossil fuel subsidies with a gentler impact on consumers and national economies. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is key to ensuring an orderly economic transition towards decarbonisation. Accelerated actions towards a phase-out of subsidies would generate 12 per cent of the total abatement needed by 2020 to keep the door open to the 2C target."

Reports over the weekend suggested there were divisions within the G20 over the wording of their final statement on climate change, with French officials said to be pushing for a more ambitious joint commitment.

News agency Bloomberg quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying he "had found the text too weak and that it wasn't up to what we should expect from the G20".

The divisions are said to centre on the long-standing argument over the extent to which poorer nations share responsibility for curbing carbon emissions. A number of poorer nations are reportedly keen to ensure the G20 statement focuses on ensuring there is "differentiated" responsibility for tackling climate change.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris Hub, hosted in association with PwC

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