Paris Climate Talks: The Who, What, Where, and Why.

On November 30th, leaders from around the world will sit down and make an international agreement on how each country will work together to cut global warming pollution.

Paris Climate Negotiations. Climate Talks in Paris. COP21. Why is everyone making a big deal about Paris?

Well, because on November 30th, leaders from around the world will sit down and talk about — you guessed it — climate change. But more importantly, they are set to make an international agreement on global warming and how each country will work together to cut pollution.

Officially known as the “21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” the goal for the conference is to set a plan to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. Acknowledging that global warming is induced by humans, the Conference of Parties (COP) will give industrialized countries strong responsibilities for fighting the climate crisis.  [1]

Leading up to the negotiations, the UN has produced a 34-page draft plan that spells out which parts of the pact will be legally binding and what is required to fulfil the pact. With more than 190 countries expected to attend, the draft is set to be finalized in Paris. [2] [3]

Countries have already come forward with their commitments to combat global warming and curb their carbon emissions. More than 140 countries have released their commitments to the United Nations.  These countries represent 87 percent of global carbon emissions — that’s a big deal! [4]

So you are probably wondering: What is the U.S. doing?

Well, a lot! This summer we took the single biggest step in U.S. history to tackle global warming. By putting the first-ever national limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the Clean Power Plan is part of a long-term goal for a safe planet and is setting the pace on climate action leading up to the negotiations.

And that’s not all — leadership states are taking strong action too! Governor Brown of California has made a commitment to reduce emissions in his state by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050! Several cities across the U.S. are also taking strong action on climate and setting high climate standards at home as members of C40 — a network of major cities around the world that are committed to fighting global warming. [5] [6]

BUT — and it’s a big ‘but’ — we are not in the clear!

There is still time until the negotiations begin. And big polluters, with their allies in Congress, are working hard to shut down the Clean Power Plan and build opposition to a strong agreement in Paris. We’ve come this far because the U.S. is showing strong leadership and the Clean Power Plan is the biggest single step we are taking to cut pollution. We can’t let the fossil fuel lobby derail us on the path to Paris. To get a strong agreement in Paris, we need to be at the head of the pack on fighting global warming, and the Clean Power Plan will put us there.

Let’s #ActOnClimate and lead the world in Paris.


[1] What is COP21/CMP11?
[2] UN releases 20-page negotiating text for climatedeal, Climate Home, June 10,2015.
[3] Beefed-up climate deal draft forms basis for UN talks, Reuters, October 20, 2015.
[4] 146 Countries Covering Almost 87% of Global Emissions Submit Climate Plans Ahead of Paris, EcoWatch, October 2, 2015.
[5] Governor Brown Signs Landmark Climate Legislation,, October 7, 2015.
[6] About C40