Live Updates: At United Nations COP21 Climate Change Summit In Paris, China Urges Europe, US To Lead In Fight Against Global Warming
UPDATE: 11:25 a.m. EST --U.S. President Barack Obama urged other world leaders to move forward on policies to slow the pace of climate change during a global conference in Paris Monday. "What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it," Obama said in his speech, in a reference to Nov. 13 terror attacks across Paris carried out by Islamic State group supporters.
Many world leaders said the stakes were high. "A political moment like this may not come again," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders gathered for the conference. "We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity."
UPDATE: 8:25 a.m. EST -- French President François Hollande Monday at the opening day of the United Nations climate change summit in Paris linked the fight against terrorism to climate change initiatives. His comments came as France continued to deal with the aftermath of a series of terror attacks Nov. 13 that rocked the capital, killing 130 and wounding hundreds more.
"I can't separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming," said Hollande, as reported by Reuters. "These are two big global challenges we have to face up to, because we have to leave our children more than a world freed of terror, we also owe them a planet protected from catastrophes."
China urged the United States and Europe Sunday to take the lead when it comes to international climate initiatives, ahead of a United Nations climate change summit that began Monday in Paris. As a rapidly developing country, China is the world’s leader in production of carbon emissions, one of the greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming.
“[We] hope the outcome of the summit will underscore the principle of common and differentiated responsibilities,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told French President Francois Hollande Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a state news agency. He encouraged richer, developed countries to make higher sacrifices than developing countries when it came to limiting emissions.
The United Nations COP21 summit on climate change is expected to yield a legally-binding agreement concerning initiatives to stem the problems of climate change by Dec. 11. The conference was being held in Paris despite security concerns following a Nov. 13 terror attack that killed 130 people and wounded several hundred more.
Chinese industries developed at a breakneck speed in the past two decades, and much of the country's factories and machinery have been powered by coal, one of the dirtiest forms of energy, as it produces high amounts of carbon dioxide. Problems of pollution in China have become so great that a northern region of China including Beijing was covered in a cloud of smog larger than the area of Spain for three days.
As a result of these pollution problems, China finds itself at a unique crossroads as one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to pollution as well as one of pollution's greatest victims.
China was not the only developing country to suggest that richer nations should carry a heavier burden when it comes to climate change initiatives. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said developed nations that built their wealth on cheap and dirty fuel should make the largest sacrifices concerning emission caps. “The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the bedrock of our collective enterprise,” Modi wrote in an op-ed for the Financial Times Monday.