Blow by blow: Opening day of UN climate change conference COP 21 in Paris

Fouad Mansour in Paris, Monday 30 Nov 2015

World leaders from 150 countries arrive in Paris on Sunday for a major climate conference that aims to end 20 years of international disagreements

World leaders pose for a group photo at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP)

9:00 Ahram Online concludes its live coverage on the UN climate change conference COP 21.

8:30 Twenty major-economy countries have launched 'Mission Innovation,' a landmark commitment to dramatically accelerate innovation in public and private global clean energy, including the doubling of investments in the sector.

The group of countries, representing 80 percent of global clean energy research and development (R&D) budgets, have committed to doubling their R&D investments over five years. Their current collective spending on clean energy is estimated at about $10 billion.

8:05 Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi talked with Qatar's Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef told Ahram in Paris without revealing the nature of the conversation.

El-Sisi also met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. 

7:45 The following is part of the declaration of the global solar alliance:

“The heads of the world’s largest development banks pledged today to work together to substantially increase climate investments and ensure that development programs going forward consider climate risks and opportunities. The multilateral development banks (MDBs) announced their intention to further mobilize public and private finance to help countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The six institutions “pledge to increase our climate finance and to support the outcomes of the Paris conference through 2020,” the statement read. “Each of our organizations has set goals for increasing its climate finance and for leveraging finance from other sources… These pledges support the US$100 billion a year commitment by 2020 for climate action in developing countries.”

7:40 The United Nations Secretary General, Ban-Ki-Moon said that there are still pending issues to be discussed in negotiations, and that there has been differences for a long time.

Ban-Ki-Moon added that in 2011, during the Durban final communiqué , the media announced that a universal agreement will be reached by 2015 and now it's almost December 2015.

"Please show flexibility, meet in the middle, the World cannot continue like that," Ban-Ki- Moon said.

7:30 The two leaders co-signed a book titled Ecologies of the World and distributed it to the audience.

Ecology of our worlds book
(Photo: Fouad Masnour)

7:20 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking to reporters about the French-Indian global solar alliance, said that India now has 4 Gegawatts of solar power capacity and plans to reach 100 Gigawatts by 2022.

“This day is the sunrise of the new world” Modi said.

The Indian PM said that the alliance between the developed and the developing world on solar energy is crucial in this area.

7:15 French President François Hollande said during the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that solar energy has the potential for enriching countries the way coal and oil did for some nations in the past, Ahram Online editor-in-chief Fouad Mansour reported from Paris.

The two leaders are launching an initiative for an alliance where member-countries would unite in a shared vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all.

Coal and oil are the energies of yesterday, Hollande said, adding that the Paris accord will give huge support to solar energy development.

Reporters waiting for Indian PM, French President to launch In...

Reporters waiting for Indian PM, French President to launch International Solar Alliance#COP21

Posted by Ahram Online on Monday, 30 November 2015

6:30 Over 100 reporters are waiting for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande to launch the the International Solar Alliance.

UN Climate Change Conference
UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour)

5:45 Bolivia's leftwing President Evo Morales says that the global capitalist system must be eradicated before it destroys the earth, Ahram Online's editor-in-chief Fouad Mansour reports from Paris.

Morales said that the market-based system considers nature a mere object of exploitation and profit and promotes individualist selfishness and consumerism.

5:30 Egypt's Giza pyramids will be fitted with green lights on Monday and Tuesday to coincide with the United Nations climate summit in Paris, state news agency MENA reported.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales (L) makes speaks at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour)

4:50 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will launch the the International Solar Alliance, inviting potential member countries to unite in a shared vision to make clean, affordable, and renewable solar energy available to all, Ahram Online's editor Fouad Mansour reports from Paris.

There are over 100 solar-rich countries, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

4:30 US President Barack Obama is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to decrease tensions with Turkey following the shoot-down of a Russian jet by Turkish forces, AP reports.

Obama and Putin met briefly on the sidelines of global climate talks outside Paris. The White House says Obama expressed regret for the death of a Russian pilot and crew member in that incident.

The White House says Obama told Putin that Syrian President Bashar Assad must leave power in the transition to end Syria's civil war. Obama is also calling on Russia to focus its airstrikes in Syria on Islamic State militants, not rebels fighting Assad.

The Kremlin says both Obama and Putin expressed urgency for a political resolution in Syria during their 30-minute meeting. The two leaders also discussed implementing a ceasefire in Ukraine.

4:06 Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said African countries are, compared to developed nations, less responsible for emissions of greenhouses gases that cause climate change.

El-Sisi also called for larger funding to African nations to combat the effects of climate change.

"All African nations are contributing less to the total harmful emissions and are the most affected by climate change," El-Sisi told global leaders gathering Monday for a United Nations climate summit in Paris.

"Africa demands an international, just, and clear agreement that considers disparity of burdens between developed and developing countries," El-Sisi said.

He called for "bolstering the ability of developing countries to cope with climate change," while urging a funding of $100 million yearly by 2020 to developing countries to fend off the phenomenon.

3:45 In a bid to draw attention to the hazards of wasting resources around the world, each of the 40,000 participants in the 12-day UN climate change conference in Paris received a reusable bottle of water.

"Imagine if 40000 people drank 3 bottles of water every day for 12 days; maybe a million plastic bottles would have been used (and disposed of)," an organiser told Ahram Online.

Former US Vice President Al Gore (C) speaks with reporters at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour)

3:15 Russian president Vladimir Putin tells COP21 delegates, Russia has been actively contributing to addressing the global warming problem


2:54 "We need to live to our ambitions," says German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, "Billions of people pinning their hopes on what we do in Paris."


2:30 Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with French President Francois Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to stress the importance of international coordination to fight terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian president offered his condolences to the French officials for the terrorist attacks that struck Paris on 13 November, killing 130.

The officials also discussed the strength of the bilateral relations and cooperation in different fields between Cairo and Paris. 


2:05 President Barack Obama is calling the Paris climate talks an "act of defiance" by the world community following the Islamic State-linked attacks two weeks ago.

Obama says world leaders gathered near Paris for global climate talks have come to the French capital to show resolve. He's saluting Parisians for insisting the conference go on despite the attacks.

Obama says it proves that nothing will deter the world from building a future for its children. He says there's no greater rejection to those who want to tear down the world than to mount best efforts to save it.

Photo of the Water bottle distributed among the participants of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015, France, November 30 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour)


1:50 A UK-based network of artists has installed more than 600 artworks in advertising places across Paris as part of a protest campaign against the climate change talks.

Peter Marcuse, a member of the Brandalism network, told The Associated Press that it wants to "make the link between advertising and climate change."
He said "advertising is the engine of consumerism, telling us to buy more and more things regardless of the environment impact."

1:30 Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and seven heads of state and government will attend a top-level meeting on Monday hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Le Bourget in Paris.

Ki-moon is expected to announce a new initiative in the meeting called Resilience: Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R) as the meeting will "showcase a set of initiatives by governments from developed and developing countries that address one or several dimensions relevant to building resilience and adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change."

Among the attending top-level officials are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Director General of the World Food Programme Gaziano da Silva will also be present at the meeting.



12: 56 The fights against terrorism and global warming are closely linked, French President Francois Hollande said as world leaders met in Paris for climate change talks two weeks after deadly Islamist militant attacks in the French capital.

Hollande also reiterated that any deal to try to keep any further rise in global temperatures down to 2 degrees centigrade needed to be "universal, differentiated and binding," with richer countries contributing more than poor ones.

"I can't separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming," he said at the opening of the talks.

"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."

World peace is at stake in the talks, he said.

U.S President Barack Obama makes a statement at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP)

12:52: According to France 24, French President Francoise Hollande says he wants a universal, binding and differentiated agreement by the end of the summit.

Developing countries must accelerate their transition to clean energy, and must be helped by developed nations.

12:40 Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected a meeting with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the climate conference in Paris on Monday, the Kremlin said, as a dispute rages over Ankara's downing of a Russian warplane.

"No meeting with Erdogan is planned. There is no discussion of such a meeting," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour )

12:30 Ahram Online's editor Fouad Mansour reported that world leaders in the summit had a minute of silence for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks that took place on 13 November and led to the death of 130 people.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon thanked France for its "courageous" decision to host the heads of state and government little more than two weeks after the deadly assault, AFP reported.

12:00 France declared on the opening day of a global climate summit Monday that world powers can reach a deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gas and avert disastrous warming of the planet.

"Success is not yet acquired but it is within our reach," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who took over the presidency of a 12-day, 195-nation UN climate conference, told leaders gathered in the French capital for the opening day, reports AFP. 

UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour )

11:30 US President Barack Obama and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping pledged on Monday to work together to drive forward a climate change agreement at international talks in Paris, AFP reported.

Ahead of a bilateral meeting with Xi, Obama said the leadership of the two countries was critical in pushing participating countries to cut emissions.

11:10 About 40,000 international delegates are expected to attend the summit as they start flocking inside the conference area.

The French government has deployed 120,000 police and military personnel, with more 25 check points working simultaneously.

However, Ahram Online's editor Fouad Mansour reported that entrance was "very smooth" as it took only three minutes to finish the security checks and enter the conference area.  

UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 (Photo: Fouad Mansour)

11:00 Two helicopters are hovering over Le Bourget, a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris that will host the summit, as world leaders start arriving at the conference center. 


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of today's UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Around 150 world leaders will attend the COP 21-Paris 2015, including those of the United States, China, India, and Russia.

The summit seeks to end roughly twenty years of international disagreements over reaching a pact that would limit emissions of the greenhouse gases, which are responsible for climate change.

"The fate of humanity is at stake in this conference. After the attacks in France, we have to deal with the urgent priorities and respond to the terrorist challenge but also act for the long term," French President Francois Hollande said in an interview with a French daily newspaper twenty minutes ago.

Hollande said world leaders will meet "to reaffirm their solidarity with France" and to "assume their responsibilities in the face of the warming of the planet".

"Largest gathering of Heads of State ever under one roof in one day. And who says climate is not on the political agenda?" UN climate chief Christiana Figueres tweeted on Monday.

In an article published by the Financial Times, India’s Premier Narendra Modi said, "Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow."

Modi added that, "The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.”


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal (L), French Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius (2ndL), Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate change Christiana Figueres November 30, 2015. (Reuters)

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