President Obama is scheduled to depart Washington for Paris later today to attend the 21st Convention of the Parties (COP21 or Paris 2015). Paris 2015 offers our best hope to curb greenhouse gas emissions through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As of yesterday 150 heads of state had accepted the invitation to participate, with representatives of 196 nations planning to join. Each head of state will make a speech, with the order set by UN rules. President Obama’s speech will follow His Majesty Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco around noon local time.
In the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, Paris is on lock down. Ed Fallon described the scene.
— Ed Fallon (@FallonForum) November 29, 2015
With public demonstrations banned, would-be participants lined up pairs of shoes in one of the rally locations that would have been. As I type, a human chain is lining up between Place de la Nation and Place de la Republic.
Even though people with means have traveled to Paris to demonstrate, contrary to what people like Naomi Klein and other prominent climate change advocates have said, accompanying demonstrations don’t seem so relevant to the bigger picture. With or without them, the heads of state and dignitaries will accomplish something with regard to mitigating the causes of climate change. Let’s hope it is enough.
That’s not to say there isn’t hope, just that all of the speeches could be reminiscent of the scene from Star Wars where Queen Amidala addressed the Galactic Senate.
Even though the U.S. political system, the legislative branch of government particularly, is unprepared to act on climate today, I believe, and with good reason, the effects of anthropocentric climate change will become so pronounced that even the most virulent climate skeptic will recognize the need to take action to mitigate its causes.
The time for which we have long waited is upon us. Here’s hoping our leaders take action.