US President Barack Obama said the summit could be a “turning point” in international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic levels of global warming.
The summit runs from 30 November to 11 December and delegations from the 195 UN member states will negotiate on a global agreement aimed at limiting an average global temperature increase to 2°C.
President Obama said ” (the) next generation is watching… Climate change could define the contours of this century more than any other (issue)… I came here personally to say the United States not only recognises the problem but is committed to do something about it.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the summit and said: “We have demonstrated we can ensure economic development and take care of our environment at the same time.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Paris talks are not a “finish line, but a new starting point… a shared mission for all mankind.”
Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) leading the negotiations, said: “The world is looking to you… The world is counting on you.”
The COP21 United Nations climate summit began in Paris on Monday and 147 world leaders have gathered in the French capital with the aim of reaching a historic global climate deal.