LE BOURGET, France: Negotiators from 195 nations raced Saturday to complete a four-year mission by delivering a blueprint to secure humanity from the consequences of rampant emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
Despite being riddled with conflicting proposals, the draft to be submitted during the day will form the skeleton of what has been described as the most complex and consequential global accord ever attempted.
The stakes are high. Ministers from across the world will descend on Paris to try from Monday to transform the draft into a binding agreement that can rein in emissions that trap the Sun’s heat, warming Earth’s surface and oceans.
Scientists warn our planet will become increasingly hostile for mankind as it warms, with rising sea levels that will consume islands and populated coastal areas, as well as catastrophic storms and severe droughts.
However, cutting emissions requires a shift away from burning coal, oil and gas for energy, as well as from the destruction of carbon-storing rainforests—costly exercises that powerful business interests are determined to press on with.
More than 50 personalities committed to combating climate change, from Sean Penn to US billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Chinese internet tycoon Jack Ma, will try to inject dynamism into the talks, gathering for an ‘action day’ on Saturday at the UN conference site in Le Bourget on the northern outskirts of Paris.