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UN Climate Change Newsroom


These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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In a star-studded central Paris, the second week of the COP 21 climate change conference kicked off with another brilliant illumination of the Eiffel Tower drawing on the energy of real people.

On Sunday 6 December, the French artist and Sorbonne professor Yann Toma and his team of mathematicians harnessed the energy of millions of people across the world giving the Iron Lady "its original vocation which was to transmit energy and messages", said Yann Toma. The more calories burned by millions running, and the more people tweeted "#COP21 #HumanEnergy#ParisClimate2015", the brighter the Eiffel Tower shone.

(Photo credit: Shun Kambe)

On Sunday also, Robert Redford joined UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova to address a gathering of indigenous leaders and hundreds of students. One of them, Mundiya Kepenga, a Papua traditional leader, particularly touched the public: "I apologize, I don’t know how to read or write. You have satellites to understand the climate, I only have my eyes. It’s with my eyes and heart that I’m going to tell you about climate change. That’s why I’m here". 

(Photo credit: UN DPI)

(Photo credit: Hans-Jürgen Staudt)

On Monday, one of the most sought-after tickets in town was the UN Foundation’s TEDx-style Earth to Paris event at Petit Palais. Joining a long list of experts, advocates, and CEOs, US Secretary of State John Kerry promised to "make Paris the demarcation point where we begin to get the job done to save the planet, period."

(Photo credit: UN DPI)

Meanwhile, over 1,500 people gathered at the elegant Théâtre Mogador in the centre of Paris for UNDP’s annual Equator prize, an academy awards for Sustainable Development. Moderated by the actor Alec Baldwin, the audience heard from renowned environmentalists such as the anthropologist Jane Goodall, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo.

But the real stars of the evening were the winners of the prize for tackling climate change using innovative measures, thinking globally and acting locally. The video on the work of the 21 winning initiatives was narrated by the actor and activist Edward Norton. In her closing remarks, Dr Goodall called on our "fast-paced modern world" to listen to the wisdom and traditions of indigenous people. "There is a disconnect between the human brain, with its capacity do so much, and the human heart," Goodall noted. "I believe we will reach our true human potential when the head and heart work in harmony", she said to a standing ovation.

Across town, at another ceremony, short films on climate change were awarded prizes by the Mobile Film Festival. The concept is simple: “1 smartphone, 1 minute, 1 film”. More than 20 million views on internet, 765 films received, 75 selected. The Grand Prize was awarded to the French film No Sense, a love story set in a world where the air is so polluted that people have to constantly wear oxygen masks. The best foreign film prize was awarded to Terre négligée by Comorian film maker Zainou El Abidine. 

Present was also philanthropist and founder of CNN, Ted Turner. On Wednesday 9 December, at a gathering of "global visionaries" Mr. Turner pleaded for wealthy people to "stop thinking of money as God" and pointed out that the distance between our brains and our hearts.

To celebrate Human Rights day and send a collective message to the negotiators at the Bourget, the Mayor of Paris’s IV arrondissement, Christophe Girard partnered with UNRIC and the conceptual artist Laurent Godard and a number of the artists who have contributed to making COP 21 an open air museum in Paris. Musician Charlie Winston played the piano. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed with a video message from the Bourget the public gathered at the City Hall asking them to continue to work for the planet with "your renewable, abundant and contagious energy."

(Photo credit: Shun Kambe)

All through the COP, the one-minute program on French private TV channel TF1 Là où je t’emmènerai, broadcast right before the 8pm evening news, has invited numerous guests speaking on behalf of the UN. The guest chooses a place in the world where he or she would like to take the viewers. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s choice was the endangered Island of Kiribati. UN goodwill ambassadors Jane Goodall and Bertrand Piccard and the actor Alec Baldwin are amongst the guests.

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