By Jean Réné Meva’a Amougou and Celestin Ngoa Balla, US Africa News. Updated 2015-12-08


The 21st international climate conference is taking place from November 30 to December 11 in northern Paris.



The United Nations (UN) annual event is aimed at securing a global agreement to contain the increase in Earth's temperature to 2°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. It is expected to replace, by 2020, the Kyoto Protocol, which has been in force since 2005. In other words, the goal is to reach an agreement to minimize global warming-related emissions of greenhouse gases, which are responsible for climate change. The conference is called the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and, this year, the Paris Climate Conference 2015. But the first, real name is COP. In UN jargon, a "COP" - for "Conference of the Parties" in English - is an annual international conference on climate change under the auspices of the United Nations (UN).  It is somewhat like an environmental version of the UN itself.  The negotiations aim to ratify an agreement among the 195 signatory states to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).



That agreement acknowledged the existence of climate change of human origin, and gave primary responsibility to industrialized countries to fight against this phenomenon. The decisions made at these conferences need to be adopted unanimously, or by consensus of the parties only. Each session of COP is fundamental, as it includes review of the past year’s efforts, as well as allowing for renewal or adjustment of previous commitments.



But if COP 21, the 21st edition of this conference, is particularly special, it is because it aims to achieve a "universal and binding" agreement, which would take effect in 2020, in order to create a real transition to a global economy and an environmentally responsible policy--a first for the COP. If collaboration between the parties is effective, it could thus assist in bringing about a revaluation of ecology in the global political sphere. "A crucial meeting on climate," the summit is the "last chance to save the planet"; and also, for France, the culmination of François Hollande’s five years in office. For some months now, COP 21 is on everyone's lips.


For this 21th edition of COP, after the dress rehearsal in Lima (Peru) last year, France, and Paris (Le Bourget, in Seine-Saint-Denis) was selected as host country and city. Endorsed in 2013 in Warsaw, France’s bid for the Western Europe region was announced by Hollande in September 2012.


A total of 20,000 delegates and observers involved in the negotiations are expected to be in Paris for the two weeks of COP 21. The Heads of State themselves will be present until the second week. Only accredited observers from civil society are invited, notably members of large NGOs.








In a recent speech, US President Barack Obama made an apocalyptic prediction if nothing is done to stop the immediate global warming. “Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields no longer growing. Indigenous peoples who can’t carry out traditions that stretch back millennia," he said. "Entire industries of people who can’t practice their livelihoods. Desperate refugees seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own. Political disruptions that could trigger multiple conflicts around the globe." To keep the world from getting to this state, Barack Obama is taking the lead in rallying US citizens on the urgency for action.


While visiting Alaska, he stood before a misshapen glacier to directly address his compatriots. "Climate change is no longer some far-off problem," Obama said." It is happening here. It is happening now." In a tweet on November 17, 2015 the US president announced that his country has already tripled the production of its green energy, and will continue to produce even more. The president, who has made the fight against climate change a policy priority, welcomes the fact that the bulk of the American public no longer denies the reality of global warming.


But Obama’s battle isn’t over. There are deniers of climate change in the US Congress. Senators James Inhofe and Mitch McConnell are at the head of this movement that seems to be embraced by the majority of members of both houses of Congress. Deniers have already warned they will not vote for the budget set by the Obama administration for participation in the Paris summit. "As the international community finally comes together to take action, there are some members of Congress who are trying to impede progress. The deniers of climate change are trying to spoil this great moment by undermining the commitment of America to act on climate change, “the president warned in a statement released last week.