Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in France on Sunday to attend a world leaders’ conference on climate change, COP 21, a potentially historic meeting that could set limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
More than 25,000 official delegates from 190 countries will meet on Monday for the largest conference ever organized by French government.
An estimated half a million people rallied in cities across the world in countries such as UK, France, Nigeria, Colombia demanding action on climate change.
The goal for annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to achieve a legally binding agreement to keep global warming below the critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of warming, compared with the average recorded since the Industrial Revolution.
The planet has warmed by 0.85 degrees Celsius since 1880, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Scientists say the gases already emitted into the atmosphere have locked us in to around 2 degrees Celsius of warming.
Since 1900, sea levels have risen by on average about 19cm globally, and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached a record high in May this year.
The top greenhouse gas emitters are China (24 percent), US (12 percent), EU (9 percent), India (6 percent), Brazil (6 percent), Russia (5 percent).
The limits put in place in the Kyoto Protocol will run out in 2020, so attendees need to leave Paris with a new agreement to begin in 2020. An agreement resembling Copenhagen in 2009, where some limits to greenhouse gases were agreed but no treaty was signed, would be seen as a failure.