138 world leaders to attend Paris climate summit: France

November 20, 2015
138 heads of state or government are to attend the Paris climate summit, says France
138 heads of state or government are to attend the Paris climate summit, says France

A total of 138 heads of state and government so far will attend a climate summit due to kick off in terror-hit Paris on November 30, the French government said Friday.

Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela was the latest to confirm he will be present for the opening by world leaders including US President Barack Obama, China's Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi of India and Russia's Vladimir Putin, a French presidency official said.

The summit will open in the French capital just two weeks after a coordinated jihadist massacre of 130 people out for dinner, drinks and a concert on a Friday night.

France has said it will not "give up in the face of violence" by cancelling the summit tasked with producing the first-ever deal committing all the world's nations to climate action starting in 2020.

The presidency said no head of state or government had cancelled attendance since last Friday's onslaught by gunmen and suicide bombers.

And French President Francois Hollande, it said, would remain "completely involved" in the conference despite a packed schedule at home and abroad in the wake of the violence.

The conference itself will gather some 40,000 delegates, journalists, observers and exhibitors.

Citing security concerns, the French has cancelled two mass rallies—one planned for the eve of the marathon meeting, and the other after its close.

The overarching goal of the climate talks is to limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

This is the threshold beyond which scientists warns our host planet will become increasingly inhospitable—racked by superstorms, drought and land-gobbling sea level rise.

About 170 countries have already filed voluntary carbon-curbing pledges to underpin the future pact, but scientists say the aggregate effect falls far short and Earth is on course for warming of about 3 C, or more.

But negotiators remain deeply divided, with rich and developing nations arguing about who must do what to curb carbon emissions, and who must pay.

Explore further: Humanity's future in the balance at UN climate summit

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