On the surface, it seems odd that U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin both are taking the time and trouble to attend a global climate change conference this month in Paris.
But both were asked to speak on the first day of a conference in which thousands from around the world are planning to participate. Both are also involved in a life-threatening battle in Syria that now appears to have spread to Egypt despite the best efforts of Western fighters.
It is possible — likely even — the two leaders may find time to discuss their mutual concerns while at the conference for climate control as well, albeit away from the very interested eyes of the media.
More than 100 other leaders of nations joined the two world leaders Sunday as they arrived in Paris to prepare the groundwork for the talks at the COP 21 event. The three-day conference is convened with the aim of reaching the most ambitious accord ever — aimed at limiting greenhouse emissions that cause global warming.
Despite being one of the driest nations in the world, has become a world leader in the management of precious ecological and environmental resources, particularly water.
The European Union Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen sat down with Avi Gabbay, Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister last week and ambassadors of EU member states for a working breakfast to prepare for the Paris conference.
Organizers are hoping to reach a new global climate deal at the conference by the time the event reaches its last day in December.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a win-win situation, for the environment and for the economy, in Israel and in the EU,” said Gabbay. “Governments and business leaders must work together to reduce emissions, and foster a global transition to a low-carbon economy. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the EU and its members on this issue,” he said.
“French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabian told international media that Putin accepted an invitation to speak on the first day of the conference, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 11. He is to be joined by Obama, as well as the leaders of India and China on that first day, but the Kremlin has yet to confirm his participation, according to the Associated Press.
Some 40,000 people are expected to attend the gathering in addition to thousands of activists from the fields of human, environmental and ecological rights.
Hana Levi Julian