In the first few days of the COP21 climate change summit in France, world leaders, politicians, and other environmental experts began their discussions on a worldwide agreement to combat global warming.
Britain’s Prince Charles gave the keynote address and stressed that if serious changes are not made, the results will be dire. “By damaging the climate, we have become the architects of our own destruction,” the Prince said. “While the planet can survive the scorching of the Earth and the rising of the waters, the human race cannot.”
Organizers used clever methods to show the environmental damage that will ensue if nothing is done to stop climate change. Recipe cards were handed out to exhibit how rising temperatures, encroaching deserts, decreasing grasslands and rising sea levels will make it impossible for regional foods to be produced and the world population to be fed.
Giant animal sculptures dot the summit halls in an art installation titled Arche de Noe Climat, meaning, Noah’s Ark’s Climate. Different animals represent the different countries in attendance and are meant to “shout out to humanity about its responsibility towards climate change.”
Negotiating the financial commitments of individual countries is critical to the success of an international accord. Wealthier countries will likely need to participate in the global bill (approximately $100 billion) to help developing nations invest in cleaner energy solutions and reduce emissions. Countries such as the U.S. want to keep other nations accountable, maintaining parts of the proposed deal that mandates countries to be transparent in their emission reduction practices. Countries such as China and India are looking to remove those sections from the deal.
While there are still several days of difficult discussion to come, summit participants are optimistic that once and for all, a legally binding plan will be made to keep world temperatures at bay. Silent protests illustrate it in Paris and there is a general, global optimism that the next several days will bring about real change for the future of the planet.