Paris climate conference COP21- Frequently Asked Questions

World leaders will meet in Paris from 30th November – 11th December 2015 to agree a new climate change deal. Caritas will be there and calls for a legally binding climate agreement in the name of the those who are poor and vulnerable and who pay the highest price for climate change.

Why do Caritas organisations work on climate change?

Climate change is the single biggest threat to reducing global poverty. While climate change affects the whole planet, it hits the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest. Poor communities in Asia and Central America are increasingly being hit by more powerful and deadly typhoons and hurricanes, farmers in parts of Africa have their crops ruined by droughts and floods, islands dwellers in Oceania have to deal with rising seas which threaten their homes and livelihoods.

What does Caritas do for people affected by climate change?

Caritas works on many different levels. It helps communities adapt to climate change by, for example, helping them develop early warning systems for dramatic weather events. It assists farmers in using seed varieties that are best adapted to local climatic conditions and in adopting agricultural techniques which are water-efficient. Caritas advocates at the international level, such as the United Nations climate conferences, to ensure that the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people are heard by the people in power at international meetings such as COP21.

Why are world leaders meeting in Paris at COP21?

World leaders will gather in Paris from 30th November to 11th December to agree a new climate change deal to tackle carbon emissions and reduce dangerous warming. This meeting is the twenty-first gathering of the Conference of Parties (COP21) – the 195 countries that meet annually to discuss climate issues. Current global climate agreements (the “Kyoto Protocol”) run out in 2020, so leaders are meeting to agree new rules that include all countries and which will set us on a long-term path of decarbonisation.

Why is this UN meeting so important?

The aim of this year’s conference is to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. If successful, the talks will set governments on a more sustainable pathway for development, protecting the planet and its people from climate change. The meeting will also discuss the financing needed to help developing countries manage the impacts of extreme weather.

What does Caritas want to come out of the meeting?

  • Caritas calls for a legally binding and equitable agreement on climate.
  • Climate change must be tackled in a way that protects human rights as it is among the key actions to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
  • Commitment to tackling climate change needs to be backed by adequate funding, especially from most developed countries.
  • Current development models and lifestyles need to change. Fossil fuels should be phased out and sustainable energy should be accessible to all.

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