This content is not available in your region

Hollande and Obama step up pressure on climate change ahead of COP21

Access to the comments Comments
By Alasdair Sandford
Hollande and Obama step up pressure on climate change ahead of COP21

World leaders have been adding their voices to those of scientists on climate change, following the latest warning that levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high last year.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has produced evidence showing that carbon dioxide levels have climbed steadily each year since reliable records began in 1984.

“We have broken a new record once again. Over the last 25 years between 1990 and 2014, there was a 36 percent increase in the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases,” said the World Meteorological Organisation’s Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

Officials including environment ministers from dozens of countries have started early negotiations ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP21 which starts at the end of the month in Paris.

The twelve-day event will be used to discuss a potential new global agreement on combatting climate change.

More than 150 countries including the US and China have issued plans to limit emissions – but not enough to meet a target to keep global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.

Addressing scientists, the conference host President Hollande of France urged world leaders to go the extra mile.

“We have to make sure that politicians are able to decide beyond the terms of their mandate, and even beyond their own lifespans. I mean that we should make sure that those who hold the future of our planet in their hands can imagine that they will be judged after they are gone. That’s what the Paris conference is about,” François Hollande said.

President Obama has used his Facebook page to call for what he called “this beautiful planet of ours” to be preserved for generations to come.

Speaking from the White House garden, a US National Park, he urged Americans to become engaged on the climate change issue.