Paris — "Expectations are very high," Sr. Odile Coirier, Franciscan Missionary of Mary, said, describing the mood at the start of the second day at the Paris climate summit. "But there is also great concern that those expectations may not be met."
Present as a credentialed representative of Franciscans International, an NGO at the United Nations, Coirier was taking advantage of a lunch break to attend one of the many civil society "side events" in the "Climate Generations" hall adjacent to the official site of the summit.
"The mood here is very different from Copenhagen," she said, referring to her experience at the 15th climate summit, which was marked by bitter divisions and resulted only in aspirational goals. "Everyone seems to share the sense that this is the last opportunity we have to address climate change — so hopes andanxieties are high."
Two other differences Coirier notes are the importance everyone is ascribing to the role of civil society in helping to obtain an agreement and the disciplined way in which the proceedings are being moved along by Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister presiding at the talks. Fabius has insisted that the summit will end on December 11 and not spill over to the next day as has happened in the past, she said. According to Coirier, Faubius said the final draft of the agreement would be completed without delay on Dec. 9, allowing for translations and final action on Friday, Dec. 11.