In Depth

Cop21: the key climate change pledges coming out of Paris

Leaders and businesses vow to give billions to fight global warming amid emotional pleas for action

Presidents, prime ministers and business leaders have unveiled a series of pledges aimed at tackling climate change during the first day of a crucial summit in Paris.

Representatives from more than 190 nations have gathered in the French capital for Cop21, a two-week conference aimed at securing the first global climate accord in nearly two decades.

There was strong, and at times emotional, rhetoric from leaders – but what has been offered so far?

Pledges

The world's worst carbon emitters already promised to reduce emissions ahead of the summit, with yesterday's pledges focusing instead on funding for poorer countries and clean energy investment.

Eleven countries including the US, the UK, Germany and France announced a $248m pledge to the Least Developed Countries Fund to support efforts to improve their resilience to climate change.

The World Bank, meanwhile, unveiled a $500m initiative to help developing nations create incentives for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Yesterday also saw the launch of Mission Innovation, a global initiative focused on investing in renewable energy. Twenty countries, including the UK, US, China and India, will double their clean energy research and development investment over five years.

It will work alongside a private sector initiative spearheaded by Bill Gates and backed by other billionaire business leaders including Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson.

The multi-billion dollar Breakthrough Energy Coalition hopes to spark a "new economic revolution" based around clean energy, says The Guardian.

Why are these pledges so crucial?

The talks opened with a stern warning from French President Francois Hollande, who told delegates that rising temperatures would lead to famine, refugees and conflicts over access to water.

Prince Charles also issued an impassioned plea for action, warning that humans are becoming "architects of our own destruction", as the BBC reported.

"On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats - but none is greater than climate change. It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence," said the Prince of Wales.

The President of the Marshall Islands, one of the nations likely to be most affected by rising sea levels, delivered what was perhaps the most emotional and personal speech of the day.

"Everything I know, and everyone I love, is in the hands of those of us gathered here today," Christopher Loeak told delegates.

According to a Climate Central report, areas of major cities would be submerged by water if the global temperature increased by 4C. Here's how rising sea levels might affect cities across the world:

Infographic by www.statista.com for TheWeek.co.uk

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