Yes, Paris Climate Summit WILL Go Ahead As Planned

Calling the UN Climate Summit "an essential meeting for humanity," French Prime Minister Valls says the conference will go ahead as planned, despite the terrorist attack. It is also an opportunity for world leaders to show solidarity with France, he adds. Cancelling it would be "abdicating to terrorists."

The pivotal world conference takes place November 30-December 11.

Around 30,000 people from 190 countries will attend, including President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and heads of state from Canada, China and India. 

Obviously, the terrorist attack adds a dense layer of complexity to these all-important climate negotiations. Fewer people may attend, and it will be hard to solely focus on climate.

This symbol of peace in Paris went viral:Peace

Will the massive Global Climate March take place in Paris on the eve of the summit, as planned? We don’t know yet. Activists are meeting today to decide whether to go ahead with a demonstration of 200,000 people.

While it’s really bad timing for climate talks, some think it could actually result in stronger outcomes – an opportunity for the world to come together and demonstrate unity.

"The [climate] talks won’t gain as much attention in the media because it will be crowded out by other issues. But that’s not what’s most important," says Paul Bledsoe, a climate official under President Clinton. "The resolve of world leaders is going to be redoubled to gain an agreement and show that they can deliver for populations around the world. The likelihood for a successful agreement has only increased because of these attacks."

Could Backfire

Unfortunately, one reason why the climate summit couldn’t come at a worse time is because Republicans are already using it as a wedge issue.

How can you think about climate under these circumstances, they ask? "People are afraid. And it is not of global warming,"  Republican energy lobbyist Michael McKenna, told Politico. "The Democrats need to start to speak to that or they will be politically dead."

While terrorism is certainly a terrifying immediate threat, climate change is an equal, if not much greater long-term threat, and indeed, has many of the same footprints. 

The millions of refugees we see today foreshadow the climate refugees of the future. Many believe the Syrian war began as a result of climate-change induced severe drought, which forced millions into cities … and poverty.

Just days before the terrorist attack, Secretary Kerry gave a speech on climate change and national security:

"By fueling extreme weather events, undermining our military readiness, exacerbating conflicts around the world – climate change is a threat to the security of the United States and, indeed, to the security and stability of countries everywhere. We are talking about the impacts on people everywhere – of severe droughts, rapid sea level rise. We’re talking about the impacts on whole cities of unpredictable and uncontrollable extreme weather events. We’re talking about the impact on entire countries of fundamental shocks to the global agricultural system.

"We’re not just up against some really serious ecological challenges. We also have to prepare ourselves for the potential social and political consequences that stem from crop failures, water shortages, famine and outbreaks of epidemic disease. And we have to heighten our national security readiness to deal with the possible destruction of vital infrastructure and the mass movement of refugees, particularly in parts of the world that already provide fertile ground for violent extremism and terror."

But the urgency of terrorism may just be too high now, and understandably, people can only deal with so much at one time.

Sadly, Republicans will take advantage of that as an opportunity to bash Democrats as out of touch with what our priorities should be. 

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee showed his ignorance when he said earlier this year, "a beheading is a far greater threat to an American than a sunburn."

And they pounced in chorus when Senator Bernie Sanders said during this weekend’s Democratic debate, "Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. We must get our act together and listen to what the scientists say. Countries all over the world will struggle .. leading to all kinds of international conflicts. But, of course international terrorism is major issue that we have to address today."

The US Department of Defense released "National Security Implications of a Changing Climate," this summer.

"DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to US interests globally. The National Security Strategy, issued in February 2015, is clear that climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water. These impacts are already occurring, and the scope, scale, and intensity of these impacts are projected to increase over time."

How about if we ALL come together on both terrorism and climate change?!!

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