Those who have confirmed their presence vary from heads of state down to envoys. Some of the higher-ups expected to show include the President of the United States, Barack Obama, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, the President of France, Francois Hollande, and the President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.
Unfortunately though, some of the worlds biggest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters will instead be sending representatives rather then their government leaders. The first and third largest emitters of CO2 in the world, China and India, will be sending lower-level officials to attend on behalf of their countries.
Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will be sent as a special envoy of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and it is reported that India will be sending the environment minister in place of the recently elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. It is expected though that when Modi travels to Washington after the summit to meet with President Obama, climate change is on the list of topics to be discussed.
In a report published by a Chinese state-run outlet, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was quoted saying, “The Chinese side will participate in the summit and related activities in a constructive manner. The Chinese side expects to join efforts with the international community to push for positive results in the summit, advance international cooperation on climate change and contribute to addressing climate change.”
Countries including Australia, Pakistan, Ukraine and Russia will be sending foreign ministers, while like India, other countries will also be sending their environment ministers. In what is expected to be the largest gathering of world leaders since the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 to discuss climate change, it is believed that what happens on that day will spearhead future discussions.
Carbon dioxide is the main long-lived greenhouse gas that has been contributing to the effects of global warming. At what is marked the highest point CO2 levels have ever reached in human history was consistent at 400 parts per million or more for several months this year. CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for as long as 1,000 years, making this problem particularly concerning.
(Photo courtesy of Takver)