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World leaders as never before kick-start climate talks at Paris COP21

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By Adrian Lancashire
World leaders as never before kick-start climate talks at Paris COP21

The United Nations climate conference in Le Bourget, Paris has brought together 150 of the world’s heads of state and government and more than 40,000 delegates.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon opened by paying respects to the victims of the Nov. 13th terrorist attacks, and their families.

French President François Hollande said the world’s great challenges are to defeat terrorism and to guarantee the viability of the planet.

Hollande said: “We are living a historic day. Never before has a conference hosted this many authorities from so many countries. And yet never—never—have the stakes of an international meeting been so high. Your presence raises a great hope—which we must not disappoint. Billions of people are watching what we do.”

Each of the opening speakers drove home how important it will be for this two-week conference to produce a binding, universal agreement.

Ban said: “You have the power to secure the well-being of this and succeeding generations. I urge you, distinguished leaders, to use your ministers and negotiators to choose the path of compromise and consensus and if necessary flexibility. The time for brinkmanship is over.”

This will mean establishing what individual countries will do to control greenhouse gas emissions and providing financial support where needed.

The world’s leaders planned to be at the conference for the first day. After that, ministers and officials will negotiate.