World leaders of over 120 United Nations will converge on Paris on Nov. 30, 2015, for the Climate Change Conference in order to propose more efficient ways to tackle carbon emission reduction as well as to discuss integrating eco-friendly technology and policy in industrialized nations.
This conference, unlike the last meeting in 2014 in Lima, Peru, is set to be a decisive one. UN Assistant Secretary General Janos Pasztor has even said that this must be a turning point for climate change and greenhouse emission on a global scale.
Pasztor also stated during a press release that over 166 countries, which make up roughly 90 percent of all carbon emissions, have submitted paperwork prior to the conference pledging to lower their contribution to the greenhouse effect.
Paris and the European Union are also recovering from the terrorist attacks that occurred less than three weeks ago. The attacks, which claimed the lives of over 130 people, have put all of Europe on high alert, and have even led to the complete closure of some borders such as those in Brussels, Belgium.
The conference, which has created an even bigger emphasis on the security in Paris, will be attended by more than 131 leaders of different nations, including the United States, China and Russia.
Below is a list of four important things to know ahead of the conference.
1. The United Nations Releases Report on the Human Cost of Weather-Related Disasters
In a recent publication by the United Nations Office for Disaster and Risk Reduction, the agency claimed that since 1995, over 606,000 people have died due to weather-related disasters. Moreover, more than 4.1 billion people were left injured, homeless or in need of emergency assistance as a result of these disasters.
Over four billion people, which is more than half of the world's current population, comprise enough of the labor force to impact the economy of a whole continent. The data from the report suggests that Africa alone saw a loss between $250 and $300 billion in the last decade.
The study also found that roughly 355 weather-related disasters occurred every year between 2005 and 2014. The total of 355 disasters is a 14 percent increase from the previous 10 years, 1995 to 2004, and almost twice as many weather-related disasters than the prior decade from 1985 to 1994. The disasters from the last ten years, on average, have claimed the lives of over 30,000 people annually.
The disastrous effects of such natural disasters have led the Office of Disaster and Risk Reduction to implore the Climate Change Conference to come to an agreement that will protect low-income nations and avoid severe economic losses.
2. World Bank Issues Report on Climate Change and Poverty
A 2015 study by the World Bank found that up to 165 million more people could move into extreme poverty by 2030 as a consequence of climate change.
The study shows an uneven distribution of populations cajoled into poverty due to climate change. The continents of Africa and Asia are the most vulnerable to impacts due to climate change.
"We need to change policies, we need to change investment patterns, we need to offer new tools and new solutions regardless of what happens in Paris," Senior Economist for the World Bank and Lead Author of the publication Stephane Hellgatte said.
Hellgatte believes the goal of the World Bank is to work toward eradicating poverty, regardless of the outcome in Paris and the perspective on climate change. Hellgatte has been with the World Bank for over three years.
The World Bank understands the complexity of aiming to foresee ethnographic movement due to climate change by 2030. For this reason, the report includes two scenarios: a prosperity scenario, where nations agree to reduce carbon emissions, and a poverty scenario where no consensus is reached. The latter of which would lead to between 25 and 165 million people moved into poverty, according to the World Bank.
3. How the Political Climate Will Influence Decision Making
Like most policies, an agreement being reached in this year's climate conference will depend upon the politicians. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have submitted carbon pledges.
Since the attacks in Paris, both President Obama and President Hollande of France have agreed to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin so long as support for the Assad regime is withdrawn.
Prince Charles of Wales and U.S. Democratic candidate-hopeful Bernie Sanders and have even gone as far as to attribute part of the conflict in the Middle East, particularly Syria, on climate change.
"With climate change, you're starting to see these areas that are typically hot and dry become hotter and drier so that puts more stress on human beings," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. In areas where drought develops, food insecurity and unrest can be exacerbated.
"It's not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced its worst drought on record," Secretary of State John F. Kerry said in a speech at Virginia's Old Dominion University on Nov. 10. "As many as 1.5 million people migrated from Syria's farms to its cities, intensifying the political unrest that was just beginning to roil and boil in the region."
4. Developing Countries Face Economic Hurdles in Implementing Policy
Countries, especially those in development, require a lot of capital resources in order to implement new environmentally-friendly policies. For this, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has appointed the Green Climate Fund as the operating entity to target climate change multilaterally. The Green Climate Fund, under Article 11 of the UN Framework, is responsible for keeping the funds of both public and private investors.
A study conducted by the convention in 2010 found that for only ten countries, the amount of funds needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can range anywhere from $45 million to $33 billion. These countries, which were chosen on a first come first serve basis for the study, would require more capital than currently exists in the Green Climate Fund. As of November of 2015, the fund has been able to raise $10.2 billion from 38 independent state governments.
The Green Climate Fund has set in place a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020.
The conference's focus on finance, especially for developing countries, will be a major hurdle as it has been in the past.
The topmost priority for states attending the conference will be to implement strategies which minimize the human costs of a changing climate.
"It is really important that people keep in mind that this is not just about climate. It's about people," Hellgatte said.