COP21: High-level climate talks open in Paris

High-level climate talks have begun in Paris, aimed at signing a long-term deal to reduce global carbon emissions, the BBC reports.

More than 150 world leaders have converged to launch the two-week talks, known as COP21.

The last major meeting in 2009 ended in failure. But French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the meeting, said a deal was within reach.

Most of the discussions are expected to centre on an agreement to limit global warming to 2C (35.6F).

Assessments of the more than 180 national plans that have been submitted by countries suggest that if they were implemented the world would see a rise of nearer to 3C.

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal declared this year’s meeting open on Monday.

Strong action on carbon emissions is essential for multiple reasons, said Mr Vidal, who hosted last year’s UN climate conference in Lima.

Mr Vidal said a deal would show the world that countries can work together to fight global warming as well as terrorism.

Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN’s climate change negotiations, addressed delegates at the start of the summit.

“Never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few,” she said. “The world is looking to you. The world is counting on you.”

COP 21 – the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties – will see more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the threat of dangerous warming due to human activities.

The talks are taking place amid tight security, two weeks after attacks in Paris claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal at the meeting.

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