France is hosting the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), otherwise known as COP21. “COP” is made up of the 196 countries who have ratified the UNFCCC. The COP held in Paris will be the 21st, so it is “COP21.” This meeting’s goal is to achieve a universal, legally binding agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. It gives industrialized countries the major responsibility for combating it, and will attempt to facilitate a transition to low-carbon societies and economies for all.

The agreement, which will go into effect in 2020, will focus on mitigation—that is, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and societies’ adaptation to existing climate changes. It will have to take into account the different needs and capacities of each country. Before COP21 each country must publish its national contribution and describe its national efforts.

Another key objective of COP21 is the mobilization of $100 billion per year by developed countries, from public and private sources, to help developing countries combat climate change while promoting fair and sustainable development.


The Pope called for real climate action, the G7 leaders have already committed to phase out fossil fuels, and the cost of renewable energy is dropping every year. All over the world, national agendas are including clean energy, and millions of dollars are being moved out of fossil fuel investments. A giant climate march will be held in Paris on November 29th; similar expressions of solidarity are being planned all over the world.