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Paris climate talks: what world leaders say about the planet's future

Writer:Agencies Time:2015-12-03
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World leaders gather for the World Climate Change Conference

Heads of states and governments pose for a family photo during the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Some 150 world leaders from US President Barack Obama to Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga of Tuvalu gathered in Paris on Monday to open a summit meant to secure the world's most ambitious pact on climate change.

Below are select comments and quotes from the speakers:

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING:

The Paris climate change conference should reject the narrow-minded mentality of zero-sum game, Xi Jinping said, urging all countries, developed countries in particular, to assume more shared responsibilities for win-win outcomes.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

"As the leader of the world's largest economy and the second largest (greenhouse gas) emitter ... the United States of America not only recognises our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it."

FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE:

"To resolve the climate crisis, good will, statements of intent are not enough," he said. "We are at breaking point."

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON:

"I urge you to instruct your negotiators to choose the path of compromise and consensus. Bold climate action is in the national interest of every single country represented at this conference. The time for brinksmanship is over."

ECUADOR'S PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA:

"An environmental debt needs to be paid." An international court for environmental justice should be set up. "It is not understandable that we have courts to force countries to pay financial debts but we do not have a court to enforce environmental debts."

PRINCE CHARLES OF BRITAIN:

"If the planet were a patient, we would have treated her long ago. You, ladies and gentlemen, have the power to put her on life support, and you must surely start the emergency procedures without further procrastination."

"Humanity faces many threats but none is greater than climate change." he said. "In damaging our climate we are becoming the architects of our own destruction. We have the knowledge, the tools and the money (to solve the crisis)."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel said the aim at a summit in Paris was "a binding U.N. framework" and a binding review mechanism to close a gap between the impact on global warming of already promised measures and the work required to limit rising temperatures.