By Asmau Ahmad
World leaders are holding a virtual One Planet Summit on Monday in Paris, France, hoping to build fresh momentum to tackle the climate crisis and environmental degradation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, along with top officials from international organisations are attending.
Diplomacy on global warming has taken a back seat in the past year as the world confronts the coronavirus health emergency and economic recovery.
One Planet organisers say a new year provides new opportunities to step up efforts, and that Monday’s talks in Paris will jump-start a year of climate diplomacy.
The event, which is co-hosted by France and the UN, is expected to culminate at the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
The incoming U.S. administration under Joe Biden, who named John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for climate, has helped add a dash of optimism.
The summit was supposed to have taken place in the southern French port city of Marseille last year but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Paris now sees the One Planet Summit as a prelude to various climate meetings taking place this year with the first and foremost being the November climate summit in Glasgow.