UN climate conference gets underway in Paris

Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at a sprawling airfield outside Paris where world leaders have gathered for the start of two weeks of international climate negotiations. Leaders and heads of government from some 150 countries are on hand as French President Francois Hollande formally kicks off the 21st United Nations “council of the parties” — or COP21. Each leader is to make a short address Monday in two simultaneous work sessions in an unusual start for a UN climate conference, where leaders typically arrive in the closing days to announce the outcome.

Trudeau has scheduled an exhausting round of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference today before flying back to Ottawa late this evening. He’ll also take part in an event with U.S. President Barack Obama where 20 countries are expected to pledge new funding toward clean technology innovation in an alliance with some of the world’s highest-profile private sector investors.  The climate summit technically got underway Sunday afternoon at the former military airbase and civilian airport in Le Bourget, just outside Paris, with a minute of silence for the victims of this month’s terrorist attacks in the French capital.