Global Smackdown (12/2)



Kelsey Hanson

Who: 170 world leaders

Where: Paris, France

When: November 30—December 11

What: United Nations Conference on Climate Change 

Why: To strategize ways in which to reduce carbon emissions

So What?: This week, despite security concerns arising after last month’s attacks, over 170 world leaders are assembling in Paris, France for the 21st UN Climate Change Conference. Their goal? To reduce carbon emissions in order to keep the rise in global temperature capped at 2.5 °C, a much smaller increase than would occur otherwise. This summit has the shadow of the disastrous 1997 Kyoto Protocol hanging over its head but many are confident that this summit will be different than those previous. What makes COP21 different? Unlike previous climate summits, these 170 world leaders are bringing their proposals to the table voluntarily. At previous summits, world leaders arrived empty-handed and were assigned a plan given to them based on the results of the summit. In effect, this has resulted in countries being given a to-do list that they were not prepared to accomplish. At COP21, however, world leaders arrived with their own to-do list which they will pledge to accomplish and which will be negotiated during the summit. In this way, the roughly 170 countries represented at the summit know beforehand what they can feasibly accomplish, making the resulting global plan more attainable. The summit closes on Dec. 11 when the results will be made known to the public. 

*Global Smackdown is a 23-minute forum facilitated by Dr. Tim Horner every Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Corr Lounge.