Op-Ed by Ambassador Shari Villarosa, 21st Conference of Parties (COP21)

An historic opportunity for global climate agreement.

From rising seas across the globe and the melting of Greenland’s sheet ice to the bleaching of coral reefs around many coasts, the signs of climate change are all around us. As a global society, we are at a critical juncture where our decisions today will help shape the climate our children and children’s children will be born into. But this is not just about the future. There are immediate benefits to keeping pollutants out of our environment: cleaner air, lower energy costs, and new growth industries. These are the stakes at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where representatives from almost 200 nations, including Mauritius, will gather from November 30 to December 11 to negotiate a comprehensive climate agreement for the post-2020 world. Now more than ever, there is social and political will to do something about the rise in global temperatures and its ripple effect through the environment. More than 160 countries, including the United States, responsible for around 90 percent of global emissions, have announced climate targets ahead of the conference. This is a clear step forward and a departure from the past. As a reference point, only about 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions were addressed under the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

Read the full op-ed piece (PDF, 156 kB)