COP21 of course stands for the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties taking place in Paris, France. It is actually another name for the more familiar United Nations Climate Summit or the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – all part of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.
About 150 world leaders, including Philippine President Benigno Aquino, and more than 40,000 delegates representing 195 countries are expected to attend the conference, where the major issue will focus on how to slow the pace of climate change affecting the world today, especially the most vulnerable of them all – the third world countries.
The ambitious but compelling goal of COP21 is for nations to forge a globally and legally binding agreement that will lower greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Farenheit) – the critical number identified by scientists, predicting that once global warming climbs beyond that threshold, the earth’s land, food and water supply would be harmed, endangering the planet’s population.
The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the planet has already warmed by 0.85 degrees Celsius from 1880 to 2012 and could increase by another 1.5 to 4 degrees by the end of the century, compared to 1850.
Not only are we seeing devastating weather disturbances all over the world caused by a warmer Earth, but island nations like Seychelles, Kiribatti, St. Lucia and Barbados are finding themselves in great peril because of the rising sea level.
The Philippines need not go far in describing what could happen to all these ill-fated nations for we experienced it ourselves how the rising seas turned into monstrous killer waves and surges when super typhoon Yolanda struck the central part of the country in 2013.
For better understanding in knowing and appreciating the importance and success of COP21, let me bring you back to my apprehensions when COP20, which was held in Lima, Peru in 2014, failed to reach a consensus in resolving climate change issue, as you will find out from this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/lima-conference-fails-to-resolve-climate-change-issue/.
Suffice to say that COP21 is a very crucial summit among the present head of states in attendance to agree in steering the world away from the irreversible onslaught of a man-made catastrophe.