Paris Continues To Recover As Global Leaders Attend Climate Summit The United Nations climate summit opened Monday with more than 130 world leaders expected to attend. Its a huge security challenge for a city still recovering from the November 13th terror attacks.
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Paris Continues To Recover As Global Leaders Attend Climate Summit

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Paris Continues To Recover As Global Leaders Attend Climate Summit

Paris Continues To Recover As Global Leaders Attend Climate Summit

Paris Continues To Recover As Global Leaders Attend Climate Summit

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/457794533/457794534" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The United Nations climate summit opened Monday with more than 130 world leaders expected to attend. Its a huge security challenge for a city still recovering from the November 13th terror attacks.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The world's attention is on Paris again just over two weeks since the attacks that killed 130 people there in cafes and a concert hall. World leaders are gathered there for the United Nations climate change conference. As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, there's heavy security and a sense of solidarity.

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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Heads of state and government only to proceed to the family photo.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: An announcer tries to corral 151 world leaders to gather for a photo shoot. The climate conference is being held just north of Paris in facilities at Le Bourget airfield where Charles Lindbergh touched down after his transatlantic solo flight in 1927. For the next two weeks, delegates from some 200 countries will hash it out and try to come to an agreement on limiting global warming. U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres says the spirit of Paris will inspire them.

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CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: Paris is known as the City of Light, a title that has recently taken on new meaning. The City of Light is now, more than ever, a beacon of hope for the world.

BEARDSLEY: There was a minute of silence for the victims of recent terrorist attacks in France, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia and Mali.

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LAURENT FABIUS: (Speaking French).

BEARDSLEY: French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said terrorism and global warming were the biggest challenges of the century. But President Francois Hollande says he does not want the important work on the climate to be overshadowed by terrorism. There are 2,800 police patrolling the summit site and 6,500 soldiers dispatched to the Paris region. With France in a state of emergency, all demonstrations have been banned.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting in French).

BEARDSLEY: Some 5,000 people gathered anyway and made a human chain along the route of a march that had been canceled. But the peaceful demonstration was disrupted by a group of 30 or so masked youths demanding the right to march. French television showed them throwing rocks at police who responded with tear gas. The clashes took place around Paris's Place de la Republique, scattering shrines to the victims of the terrorist attacks.

Today, 30-year-old Ahmed Meguini was picking up candles and straightening the memorials. He says he's furious at what they did.

AHMED MEGUINI: (Through interpreter) I know the climate conference is important and it should continue, but I'm not interested in it these days. And people have no right to touch these symbols.

BEARDSLEY: There's no guarantee there'll be a climate deal though the world is closer than ever before. More than 180 countries have already submitted individual pledges to reduce emissions though they fall short of the goal of what's needed to limit warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.

Keya Chatterjee, head of the U.S. Climate Action Network, an advocacy group, says there were nearly 3,000 marches and demonstrations across the world yesterday in support of a climate deal, a contrast to five years ago when another summit ended in failure.

KEYA CHATTERJEE: We have the people of world behind us coming into this meeting, and that's a really different place to be.

BEARDSLEY: Traffic was light in Paris today. People heeded authorities' advice to use public transport, which was free. Cheese seller Arnaud Coste says Parisians need this conference right now.

ARNAUD COSTE: I think that Parisians are quite happy to have that climate conference here in Paris. First, because it - it's good that we come back to normal life, second because it's very important for the planet.

BEARDSLEY: Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.

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