Record Breaking COP21

28 January 2016


Besides producing the Paris Agreement, COP21 has broken many records. Here are some notable ones from Adrian Yeo, CAN Leadership Development Fellow.

We started COP21 a day ahead of schedule. The much anticipated UNFCCC proceedings were supposed to start on Monday, 30th November, and the parties would have informally met the beginning of the week before. By the Friday before COP began, we were hearing news that it would begin one day earlier and the meetings officially started on Sunday, 29th November.

Biggest gathering of world leaders in a UN event. Over 150 heads of state and government arrived at the conference venue on Monday to give their public support, the largest group of leaders ever to attend a UN event in a single day.

40,000 (some say 50,000), the total number of participants. This figure includes 25,000 official delegates (government figures along with representatives from intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society), 3,000 accredited journalists who noted down every development, organizers, speakers and world leaders. The largest previous summit was the Copenhagen COP15 in 2009 with roughly 27,000 participants.

Not 1, but 2 CAN Parties. Up until the middle of the first week of COP, the CAN/CSO party was a no-go, due to security and various other reasons. But seasoned COPers just wouldn’t buy it. Kudos to the CAN Secretariat, the ‘underground’ party was announced. Much to everyone’s surprise, we even granted a second edition right after COP closed.

Warmest Year on record. A preliminary estimate based on data from January to October shows that the global average surface temperature for 2015 so far was around 0.73 °C above the 1961-1990 average of 14.0°C and approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial 1880-1899 period. This temperature tendency indicates that 2015 will very likely be the warmest year on record.

Adopt A Negotiator reached 400th article milestone. A big congratulations to our friends from GCCA and Adopt A Negotiator Program with their 400th articles, videos, infographics and sorts. The COP21 song playlist is phenomenal.

For the first time, a limit of 1.5C has been locked into the treaty after a concerted push by small island nations (SIDs) who said their very existence was threatened if the world limited global warming to 2C. The treaty said the world will be "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change".

Global fossil fuel divestment push hits a record-breaking $3.4tr. The record-breaking figure was announced today at the UN's Paris Climate Summit by campaign groups and Divest-Invest. The update came alongside a slew of new divestment pledges from 19 French cities, including Lille, Bordeaux, Dijon and Rannes. The $3.4tr represents the total assets under management by all the institutions, not the amount of money being divested – which is difficult to track accurately, according to


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