France to Push On With Climate Summit After Paris Attacks

The French government vowed to push on with the United Nations Climate summit in Paris this month and will boost security for the more than 120 world leaders traveling to a city reeling from a deadly terrorist attack.

“It will go ahead with reinforced security measures,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Vienna on Saturday, a day after gunmen killed at least 129 people in the French capital. “This is an absolutely necessary step in the battle against climate change and of course it will take place.”

France had already reinstated border controls before the attack, and will increase police deployment for the talks scheduled to take place at the Le Bourget airfield in the north of Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The summit is more important now than ever, Le Point magazine quoted French Energy Minister Segolene Royale as saying. “If not, terrorism wins,” Royale said.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are among heads of state expected to attend the summit where delegates from more than 190 countries will work on an agreement to set a global framework to combat climate change, including limits on fossil-fuel emissions that will apply for the first time to all nations. The UN has estimated that 60,000 people, including envoys, press and representatives of non-governmental organizations, will descend on the French capital for the conference.

“I don’t see these attacks having any substantial bearing on the substance of the negotiations, as opposed to Copenhagen, for example, where the 2008-2009 global economic crisis did raise doubts about the costs associated with climate action,” said Alden Meyer, who has followed the climate talks for more than two decades at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Delegations Assemble

The European Wind Energy Association, which has scheduled its own conference in Paris from Tuesday to Nov. 20, confirmed the event would go ahead as planned. “So far only a handful of companies out of 360 have canceled their participation,” the trade group said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday.

For the climate talks, there’s no sign delegations plan to scale back their presence in Paris. Hundreds of environmentalists from around the world, as well as business groups, are scheduled to attend the meeting known as “COP21.”

“All my thoughts are with our French friends,”  German Deputy Environment Minister Jochen Flasbarth said Saturday on Twitter. “Now we will come with even higher ambitions to COP21.”

In Bonn, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said the conference will go ahead as planned.

“Security is always tight at these conferences but understandably it will be even tighter this year,” said Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the organization.

©2015 Bloomberg News

With assistance from Alex Morales and Gregory Viscusi.

Lead image: Paris, Champs-Elysees at night. Credit: Shutterstock.

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