Thousands stood on their feet with thunderous applause. The United Nations Climate Change Agreement negotiated by 195 nations had passed! I was amazed as both developed and developing nations agreed upon a foundational document to address the gravest challenge humanity faces. What a privilege it was to be an official observer with Franciscans International at the U.N. Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December and sponsored by my Franciscan community of Rochester, Minnesota.
COP21 Paris - World leaders here Saturday evening, Dec. 12, reached the first-ever globally binding deal to address climate change, concluding two weeks of the "most complicated and difficult," and, at times sleepless, negotiations.
COP21 Paris - As the penultimate day of the Paris climate summit drew to a close Friday, Dec. 11, chants could be heard from one of the forum areas in the center of the public Climate Generations space adjacent to the official COP21 site: "Black Lives Matter!" "One-point-five to stay alive!" "Keep the oil in the soil!"
COP21 Paris - A 20-minute train ride and 10-minute walk from central Paris north to the French capital’s 19th arrondissement, a different conference of the parties has occurred each night during the second week of COP21, the United Nations climate change conference.
COP21 Paris - Outside the main venue here at COP21, as diplomats inside waited to receive the latest draft of a potential global climate deal, Mercy Sr. Aine O’Connor stood surrounded by a throng of environmental activists eager to hear what she had to say. “We are hearing and heeding the cry of persons and earth impacted by fracking,” she said of peoples in Argentina, Australia and the U.S. who have reached out to the Sisters of Mercy.
COP21 Paris - French leaders here Dec. 9 released a new, slimmed-down version of a draft agreement to inch negotiations forward toward a global deal to address climate change.
COP21 Paris - For most people climate change is a scientific abstraction posing a distant threat. "It's in the Arctic or distant in time," said Dan Price, an English climate scientist in his 20s, speaking in the "green" Climate Generations area adjacent to the official "blue" area where the COP21 climate negotiations are taking place.
COP21 Paris - Negotiations toward a global climate treaty have ebbed and flowed here, according to several U.S. sisters observing the proceedings at the Paris climate talks. Still, they sense a deal to emerge, in part due to the host country.
COP21 Paris - As the second day of the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature opened in the packed auditorium of Maison des Métallos, a cultural center in the heart of Paris, a disturbing word was shared about the COP21 negotiations taking place just north of the city.
COP21 Paris - The study, which examines 100 incidents of co-violations of human rights and rights of nature, underscores the reality that the well-being of humans and nature is inextricably linked.
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