COP 21

France to deploy 8,000 police along borders

Thousands of police on the borders and no cars in Paris - these were the main initiatives announced by France to ensure security at the COP 21 climate summit next week.

France to deploy 8,000 police along borders

France will deploy nearly 11,000 police for the climate summit in Paris, which begins a little more than two weeks after the
city's terror attacks, the interior minister said Wednesday.

Bernard Cazeneuve said 8,000 police and gendarmes would be posted to carry out border checks and 2,800 would be deployed at the conference venue north of Paris.

As well as the reinforced police numbers several other measures will be taken to ensure security in Paris during the conference.

Cazeneuve called on Parisians not to drive their cars on Sunday or Monday, when the conference will open. And major roads will also be completely closed off at certain times to allow the world leaders to travel to and from the site.

The A1, the A16 and sections of the western périphérique ring road will be particularly affected.

It is essential that there is a general mobilisation and the message as of today and over the coming days is for people not to use their cars for several hours on Sunday and Monday,” Cazeneuve said.

To encourage people not to use their cars Paris authorities will make public transport free on Sunday and Monday.

“These are exceptional measures,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The map below gives idea of which roads will be affected by the security measures. A more detailed map and key is available here.

With the country on high alert, the government has also banned major demonstrations by environmental groups that were planned for this Sunday and December 12.

Cazeneuve welcomed the cooperation of the march organisers, saying they had shown “a remarkable spirit of responsibility”.

The COP21 climate conference begins on Monday at Le Bourget, to the north of Paris.

Still reeling from the worst terrorist attacks in French history, Paris will host 147 world leaders gathering next week to spearhead a climate pact tasked with keeping Earth liveable for humanity.

US President Barack Obama has urged others to follow his example and come to the French capital to show that “a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business.”

And speaking on a visit to the White House President François Hollande said holding the COP 21 summit would be the perfect response to show that France would not be cowed by terrorism.

No heads of state or government backed out of the November 30 opening after jihadist assaults killed 130 people just over a week ago, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday.

“On the contrary, some who had not yet responded have said they will come exactly because we cannot give in to terrorism,” he said.

Preoccupied by a recent spate of extremist attacks around the globe, world leaders will have their work cut out for them at the 12-day climate huddle.

The highly-anticipated conference is tasked with fixing a problem that threatens the very well-being of our species: global warming.

After six years of preparatory negotiations, the 195 nations gathering under the UN flag remain sharply divided on a raft of intertwined issues.


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COP 21

France and US clash over Paris climate deal

France and the United States appeared to clash Thursday over the legal status of a global pact to be agreed in Paris in December to stave off dangerous climate change.

France and US clash over Paris climate deal
French President François Hollande and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo: AFP

“If there is not a binding accord, there will not be an accord,” French President Francois Hollande said in Malta while attending a European Union-Africa summit.

A day earlier US Secretary of State John Kerry made it clear the United States would not sign a deal in which countries were legally obliged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Paris agreement, he told the Financial Times, was “definitively not going to be a treaty… They're not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto or something.”

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which Washington signed in 1998 but never ratified, committed rich nations to limiting emissions, backed by tough compliance provisions.

Defining the exact legal status of the Paris pact, and which provisions – if any – would be legally binding, is one of the toughest issues to be settled in the long-running climate talks.

Earlier Thursday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, also in Malta, described his US counterpart's remarks as “unfortunate”.

“We can discuss the legal status of the agreement,” said Fabius, who had met Kerry the previous day.

“But it is obvious that a certain number of provisions must have practical effect,” he said.

The UN Conference of Parties (COP21), opening with more than 115 heads of state and government in the French capital on November 30th, aims to secure a deal to stave off catastrophic climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.The draft accord being negotiated is divided into a core “agreement”, laying out the broad objectives for CO2 reduction and financial aid for developing nations, and “decisions” spelling out how to achieve them.

Negotiations have proceeded from the broad understanding that the “agreement” would have a more binding legal status than  the “decisions,” which would include voluntary national carbon-curbing pledges subject to revision.

Washington has consistently said it would not commit to CO2-reduction targets within an international framework, but that it would accept legal obligations for other provisions.

“What we support is in fact a partly legally-binding agreement,” a US official, who attended pre-summit ministerial talks in Paris, explained this week.

Environmental security council

“The accountability system of the agreement would be legally binding, so (would) transparency provisions,” the official, who asked not to be named, told journalists.

“Lots of provisions that circle around the (emissions) targets, but not the targets themselves,” he added.

Earlier in the week Hollande called for the creation of an “environmental security council” to verify and enforce measures to be adopted at the summit.

“I hope that binding measures emerge from the agreement in Paris,” he told a scientific gathering in the French capital.

The next day, his foreign minister said the idea would not on the table in Paris.

“Our priority is to strike a universal accord,” Fabius told journalists.

“During the COP in Paris it is not a provision that will be examined.”  The European Union and developing countries favour a strong legal framework for the new climate agreement.

In a joint statement this month, French President Francois Hollande and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping called for “a Paris accord that is ambitious and legally binding”.

The overarching goal of the Paris negotiations, which run to December 11th, is to frame a deal to prevent Earth from warming by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial levels.

Countries most at risk – including low-lying small island states and poor nations in Africa – have called for capping the rise to 1.5 C, saying anything less would result in catastrophic impacts.

Incoming President George W. Bush in 2001 refused to ratify Kyoto partly because emerging economies, especially China, were not given targets.