Close to 200 nations will be gathering in France to finalize a major international agreement on global warming.
Tens of thousands of delegates and world leaders from nearly 200 nations will be descending on Paris on Monday where, for the next 12 days to two weeks, they’ll be hammering out an international climate agreement – one experts believe could be a major turning point in the fight to stop global warming.
The accord – expected but far from assured – will not be enough to stop temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, which scientists say is the rough benchmark for avoiding global warming’s worst effects.
But after the misfires and mixed messages of the past two decades, last-minute withdrawals and heartbreaking collapses of prior summits, the anticipated agreement – if achieved – would enshrine serious commitments by nearly all nations to reduce their heat-trapping carbon emissions – finally, perhaps for the first time, capturing the political will for nations to work together to stop climate change.
“It’s putting in place this framework that builds trust over time,” says Nathaniel Keohane, vice president for global climate at the Environmental Defense Fund. “A framework to keep increasing their ambition going forward.”
There’s much that still has to happen between here and there. For those following from afar, read on to learn what to expect from the negotiations – and the long nights – ahead:
So what’s this all going to look like?