Representatives from nearly 200 countries are in Paris Monday for the start of a two-week conference on climate change. The main goal is to get a deal on keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, reports USA Today. Some essential reading:
- The New York Times takes a look at why these talks are different from previous summits—one big reason is the climate deal reached by the US and China last year—and what's at stake if they fail.
- At Slate, Eric Holthaus cuts through a mountain of jargon to produce a guide to the key players and their goals.
- Is it a "treaty"? The fate in the US of any deal that emerges may hinge on that question, and a primer in the Washington Post suggests that the White House position ("no") will prevail.
- Politico explains why an unexpected figure—George W. Bush—deserves a lot of credit for any deal that emerges.
- About that benchmark of 2 degrees Celsius: The Wall Street Journal reports that many scientists, even those convinced of a warming planet, think the figure is "somewhat arbitrary."
- Wired does an interesting calculation: Just getting all the delegates to the conference will release 575 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Will it be worth it? It seems that even incremental progress should negate that.
- The images of hundreds of people are being projected onto the National Assembly building in Paris as part of a "Standing March" project, notes Time. Organizers say the idea is to remind leaders that their actions affect ordinary people.
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