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Climate tango in Paris

By Sanja Bojovic
What you should and shouldn't expect from the Paris climate talks in December.

Climate change is no longer tomorrow’s problem. This year alone, heat waves in India and Pakistan each killed more than a thousand people. The rainforest in Washington’s Olympic National Park caught fire for the first time in history. California is parched. July 2015 was the hottest on  record.

In December, the governments of more than 192 countries are expected to gather in Paris for a two-week meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties, known simply as COP21. The goal? An international deal on climate that keeps average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C compared to pre-industrial levels. Do that, experts say, and humanity has a shot at averting catastrophe.

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Standing at a global climate crossroads

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres says there’s reason to be optimistic on the path to Paris.

Christiana Figueres is arguably the most powerful woman in global efforts to tame the beast of climate change. As executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a position she was appointed to in 2010, Figueres leads the daunting task of building international consensus on climate action.

Herding cats might be easier, but Figueres, having been submerged in often-turbulent diplomatic waters for most of her professional life, has remained remarkably buoyant as the UN climate chief. That she grew up in Costa Rica, the world’s happiest country according to the Happy Planet Index, could have something to do with it. That politics runs in her blood explains just as much.

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