Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 – United Nations Climate Change Conference

This year in December, the conversation around the planet’s changing climate will continue in Paris as many delegates and representatives gather from countries around the world. According to the homepage for main issues, “the aim is to reach, for the first time, a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.” This is a lofty goal for a conference that is less than two weeks long with numerous diverse parties from both private and public sectors.

Now less than a week away this conference has all the details figured out. I’m going to highlight a few of the basics, but feel free to explore the links provided as your interest is peaked.

If you’re interested in getting a crash course on what the conference is all about, you can dive in to this quick read written in July. It outlines why there is a conference in the first place and how businesses are involved.

Opportunity: The opportunity at hand this year is to take the conclusion from last year’s conference (COP20) in Lima Peru and act on it. Last year negotiations concluded with the ‘Lima Call For Climate Action’, a draft that lays the foundations for a new global climate deal. This draft is what the conference is sorting out this year, and with predicted close to 50,000 participants at the conference, this is quite the task and opportunity.

Key Themes: 2°C and 100 billion are some important numbers involved in this years’ conference. 100 billion dollars is how much money developed countries committed to raising per year by 2020. This money is to ensure that developing countries will have assistance in coping with climate change. This was established a few years ago, so this conference is just one in many checkpoints along the way of that promise. 2°C however is a much smaller number that can have an even larger impact. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warming on the global scale of more than 2°C would have serious consequences and increase the number of extreme climate events.

Speakers: This year’s speakers look really interesting as they come from both the private and public sector. In glancing over the list of 73 speakers I found myself sucked in to some of their profiles. Check them out and see what speakers most interest you.

How to get involved? : It may seem difficult to get involved in an international conference happening halfway around the world, but there are many ways to be informed and participate. One easy way is to follow the three twitter accounts that are directly related to the conference. @Climate_Action, @COP21, and @UNFCCC are going to be tweeting about the conference in addition to the many attenders who will be using the hashtags #COP21 and #SIF15. If Twitter isn’t your form of information updates you can also follow the COP21 blog.

Security update: After the attacks in Paris just over a week ago, there will be heightened security for the conference. When I heard about what was going on, I immediately thought about the UN conference, because I have been doing research for this post for a while and knew that the conference was fast approaching. The next day in the wake of coverage and details flooding the news I was able to hear just a snippet about how the conference would proceed. For more information regarding safety you can see the posted security update.

I hope this post has been informative and given you a great resource to know more about what’s happening now to help our earth be healthier. Comment below if there are other conferences people should know about!

Author: Lauren

SPU Student

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