(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
By John Keating
PARIS Nov 30 (KUNA) -- French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon early Monday began welcoming over 150 world leaders to the latest UN Climate Change Conference dubbed "COP21" which begins today and is expected to run until December 11.
All major world leaders have agreed to attend the opening session Monday and several will remain for the following day to give impetus into the COP21's goals of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius until the end of the century.
The conference also seeks to raise USD 100 billion annually to help offset the negative economic effects of climate change on developing nations and to assist them with their eco systems.
Among major powers attending President Barack Obama arrived in Paris late Sunday and is attending the opening session. Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chinese leader Xi Jinpeng are also participating as are major leaders from around the globe.
The Kuwaiti delegation to COP21 is led by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubrak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah who is representing His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah here in Paris. The delegation also includes First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and a number of senior advisors and officials from the Kuwaiti Government.
While there is a broad consensus among participants that it is urgent even critical to tackle global warming and limit CO2 emissions there remain divergences over how this should be done and on the burden-sharing among major polluters.
Nicolas Hulot Hollande's Special Advisor for the Planet and a key player in COP21 last week said to KUNA and Anglo-American Press journalists that he felt the conference would be a success even because of the fact that the whole planet is present to manifest concern about the situation. But he also admitted that "the glass was half full or half empty" depending on whether one is optimistic or not." He believes an agreement can be reached over the next two weeks.
One of the key issues that is still unresolved is setting an "agreed price for carbon" upon which compensations and adjustments from polluter to non-polluter would be gauged.
Also very important he said is that there is no agreement on how the COP21 accord if there is an accord by December 11 would be "legally binding." The US President has made it clear that a legally-binding agreement would not likely pass in the US Congress.
"There will be a pre-Paris and a post-Paris in any event" Hulot said in his remarks emphasising that these discussions would have an impact on the future.
The French Presidency announced Monday that 195 countries plus the European Union would take part in the COP21 being held in the "Le Bourget" zone north of Paris. In addition 2000 associations and a total of 14000 delegates from NGOs will be present on site.
Security is extremely tight in France because of the November 13 terror attacks in and around Paris which killed 130 people.
Almost 3000 Gendarmes are deployed at Le Bourget and 8000 extra police have been deployed on France's borders to monitor people entering the country while a total of 120000 security personnel police army and Gendarmes are on duty around the country. (end) jk.rk