The UNFCCC COP21 climate change talks began Monday, November 30 with some 150 world leaders gathered in Paris to negotiate the terms of a global agreement to address climate change.
The New York Times (11/30) covered the Leaders Day plenary session in which world leaders, including President Obama, President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, spoke about the need to take climate action.
In his speech President Obama remarked, “I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.” The entire speech can be viewed on YouTube.
A number of pledges and announcements were made in the first days of climate talks. The UN Climate Change Newsroom (11/30) lists announcements including:
- an International Solar Energy Alliance launched by France and India to boost solar in developing countries;
- a new initiative to build resilience launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon;
- the Mission Innovation initiative spearheaded by Bill Gates to accelerate global clean energy innovation, together with the U.S., China, India and sixteen other governments.
PBS Newshour (11/30) said that Mission Innovation is working with its private sector sister fund, Breakthrough Energy Coalition.
The U.S. government and ten other governments pledged (11/30) to contribute a total of $248 million USD to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) of the Global Environment Facility. The U.S. pledged just over $51 million to the LDCF, which plays a key role in addressing adaptation needs in least developed countries.
Thomas Reuters Foundation (12/1) said President Obama announced a U.S. contribution of $30 million to climate risk insurance initiatives in the Pacific, Central America, and Africa.
Resilience took center stage in new initiatives announced under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda to mobilize large-scale financing to protect people most vulnerable to climate impacts, as covered by the UN Climate Change Newsroom (12/2).
The Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation – a coalition of nations, river basin organizations, and business and civil society that will work to make water systems more resilient to climate impacts – was also announced on 12/2.
Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture spoke about food security and climate change, in Paris, highlighting results from a new USDA report (12/2) on climate change and food security in the U.S. agriculture system.