'Cooking up history': Best quotes from Paris climate talks

12th December 2015, Comments 0 comments

Here are 10 of the best quotes from the 13-day UN climate conference in Paris, which sealed a historic pact on Saturday to curb global warming:

- Cooking up history -

China's chief climate negotiator, Su Wei, serves up a culinary analogy for Paris success:

"When we cook a meal, we need to have all the seasonings and ingredients and recipes. And next week is the actual cooking on the stove in the kitchen. So that you can reflect the features of French cuisine and also the flavours of all the world's cuisines."

- Nature on life support -

Britain's Prince Charles issues a battle cry at the start of the talks:

"The whole of Nature cries out at our mistreatment of her. If the planet were a patient, we would have treated her long ago. You have the power to put her on life support and you must surely start the emergency procedures without further procrastination."

- Too tired -

Espen Ronneberg, a finance negotiator for the Pacific island nation of Samoa, explains the stress brought on by all-night negotiations held in the tense final stages of the talks:

"We're all tired and we become much less diplomatic. Instead, we just go straight to the point. Some people don't even say hello anymore, they just nod their heads."

- Save Tuvalu, save the world -

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga makes a successful appeal for the Paris accord to aim to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), rather than 2C preferred by big polluters.

"Any further temperature increase beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius will spell the total demise of Tuvalu and other low-lying island nations... if we save Tuvalu, we save the world."

- Invoking God -

Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, member of the Vatican delegation, appeals to religious negotiators:

"Why do we need God?... If there are any believers over here then I would simply say we cannot profess love of God when we do not love what God has made. And what has God made? God made the Earth and the human person."

- Hotter than atomic bombs -

Nobel laureate Al Gore refers to the US World War II atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima to illustrate the impacts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases:

"The simple truth is that the accumulation of man-made global warming pollution in the atmosphere now traps as much extra heat energy in the Earth's atmosphere as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every day on planet Earth. It's a big planet but that's an enormous amount of energy."

- Exciting times -

US actor Sean Penn sees hope in forging a new path for mankind:

"Perhaps this is the most exciting time in human history. Those illusions of having too many difficult choices have always created chaos. Now we live in a time where there are no choices. We have certainty. The days of dreams have given way to the days of doing."

- Crazy survival plans -

Kiribati President Anote Tong tells AFP about floating islands, giant sea walls and other plans to protect his low-lying Pacific nation from rising waters caused by global warming:

"I'm sure you think I'm crazy, but we've got a crazy situation. These kinds of events have never happened before, we are a country under serious threat. The strategies I've been advocating are somewhat radical, but I assure you they are not. They are as realistic as we can make them."

- Security threats -

US President Barack Obama, who travelled to Paris for the start of the conference, warns about the security and economic threats posed by global warming:

"If we let the world keep warming as fast as it is, and sea levels rising as fast as they are, and weather patterns keep shifting in more unexpected ways, then before long we are going to have to devote more and more and more of our economic and military resources not to growing opportunity for our people but to adapting to the various consequences of a changing planet."

- Who's sweeping the floor? -

South African negotiator Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko ridicules an early draft of the text that said all countries "in a position to do so" will help finance a shift to clean energy:

"In my family with the children I will tell them: 'You will clean, so and so. You will clean the room'. I do not say that 'someone will clean the room'. I say: 'You, John, will clean the room. You, Grace, will do the dishes'. There is no 'Someone in the position to do so will sweep the floor'. I need accountability and I need to know above all that the floor has been cleaned."


© 2015 AFP

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