COP 21 Kicks Off

More than 140 heads of state head to Paris today to kick off the most important international climate conference in a generation. “Among the most contentious issues at the Paris summit will be the divide between rich and poor nations. In 2009 in Copenhagen at COP15, or the 15th conference, wealthy countries agreed to contribute $100 billion annually by 2020 to help the poorer, most vulnerable nations adapt to climate change. Developing countries want the monies to flow beyond 2020. Wealthy nations say the private sector, the World Bank and other international financial institutions must step up to provide assistance. The UNFCCC’s Figueres says the switch to a low-carbon economy represents an unprecedented investment opportunity in the trillions of dollars.” (VOA

Want to get into the weeds a little bit? This 15 min podcast starts with the basic of the climate talks, then gets progressively deeper into the minutia of the negotiations. (Global Dispatches

Clean Energy at the Fore…Government and business leaders are banking on clean energy technology to fight global warming, kicking off this week’s high-stakes climate change negotiations by pledging tens of billions of dollars for research and development. “It’s quite a big deal,” said Jennifer Morgan, global climate director for the World Resources Institute. “It brings a new kind of burst of energy into the conference right at the beginning on something very important.” (AP

Let’s get ready to rumble…Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in rallies around the world on Sunday, calling on leaders to halt climate change on the eve of a major conference in Paris. (AP


Big Elections in Burkina Faso…Burkinabe voted on Sunday in an election to choose the country’s first new president in decades, a year after longtime leader Blaise Compaore was toppled in a popular uprising in which demonstrators faced down the security forces. (Reuters

Pope in CAR...Protected by the heaviest security ever seen on his trips, Pope Francis on Sunday preached reconciliation in the divided Central African Republic, a nation racked by bloodshed between Muslims and Christians. (Reuters

Guinea’s last Ebola patient, hopefully…A one-month-old baby girl who was Guinea’s last reported Ebola case left hospital on Saturday, delighting medical staff and putting the country on course to be declared free of the deadly virus. (Reuters

Depressing stat of the day: The Islamic State has executed more than 3,500 people in Syria, including nearly 2,000 civilians, since declaring its “caliphate” in June last year, a monitor said Sunday. (AFP


Five people were killed on Saturday in a double suicide attack by two women in the restive far north of Cameroon, the governor of the region said. (AP

A senior army officer was wounded in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Burundi at the weekend on his way to the capital, witnesses said on Sunday, the latest in a series of shootings targeting top officials. (Reuters

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a procession of Shi’ite Muslims that killed at least 21 people in northern Nigeria’s Kano state, the SITE monitoring service reported on Saturday. (Reuters

Kenyan security forces have arrested two Kenyan men with links to Iran on suspicion of planning attacks in the East African nation, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday. (Reuters

South Sudan’s repeatedly broken peace deal is at a “critical stage”, the African Union has warned, calling on rival forces to honour commitments amid fears it is close to collapse. (AFP

Two people died and about 3,000 were left homeless when a fire destroyed 800 shacks at the Masiphumelele informal settlement in Cape Town Sunday, officials said. (AFP

A multimillion dollar lawsuit against African Minerals Limited seeks compensation for evictions and alleged violent treatment of people in Sierra Leone. (Guardian


Hundreds of Saudi women began campaigning for public office Sunday, in a first for women in the conservative Muslim kingdom’s slow reform process, even as three activists were disqualified. (AFP

At least 18 civilians were killed and 40 wounded in “probably Russian” air strikes on a rebel-held town in northwestern Syria on Sunday, a monitoring group said. (AFP

Some 240,000 refugees who fled the fighting in Syria now live in Iraq, where among many other hardships, they are often unable to get their children citizenship in either country. (AP

Israel said Sunday it is suspending discussion of its conflict with the Palestinians with EU officials, in response to the bloc’s decision to label goods imported from Jewish settlements. (AFP

Germany could send 1,200 soldiers to the Middle East by the end of the year to support a coalition battling Islamic State, Germany’s top defense official told a newspaper on Sunday as his minister backed an international alliance against the group. (Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al Assad told a senior Iranian official on Sunday that his adversaries had increased weapon supplies and financial support to insurgents since the start of a major offensive aided by his allies to regain lost territory. (Reuters


Hundreds of gay rights activists danced to drum beats and held colorful balloons as they marched in a parade in New Delhi on Sunday, celebrating what they call the diversity of gender and sexuality. (AP

The Americas

Authorities in Mexico say the bodies of eight slain men have been found dumped in a southeastern town. (AP

Planned Parenthood said on Sunday that news reports that the gunman who attacked its Colorado health clinic had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest showed that the suspect was motivated by an anti-abortion agenda. (Reuters

A link between a form of fetal brain damage and the mosquito-born zica virus has been confirmed by Brazilian health authorities on Saturday. (Reuters

Ecuador’s economy is faltering thanks to a year of record low oil prices and fears of a “godzilla” El Niño forming in the Pacific Ocean. (NPR

Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands say they have arrested a man on charges related to the embezzlement of $1.4 million from a MoneyGram operation. (AP

…and the rest

A massive influx of refugees, and accompanying billions in public spending, have provided Germany with a long-awaited answer to partners’ calls for it to do more to jumpstart the eurozone economy. (AFP

Turkey will help the European Union handle the flow of migrants that has called into question the future of Europe’s passport-free travel in exchange for cash and restarting stalled talks on EU accession, draft conclusions of an EU-Turkey summit said. (Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of people from Australia to Paraguay joined the biggest day of climate change activism in history on Sunday, telling world leaders gathering for a summit in Paris there is “No Planet B” in the fight against global warming. (Reuters

Protesters linked hands near the violent heart of the Paris terror attacks Sunday, giving an emotional jolt to world leaders flying into the French capital to try and save Earth from climate catastrophe. (AFP

The International Criminal Court staved off a veiled African-led threat to quit the world’s only permanent war crimes court, but experts say that has come at the expense of justice for the victims of mass atrocities. (AFP


Addressing Climate Change Through Sustainable Development (Inter Press Service

Syrian refugees offer economic boon to host countries (Humanosphere

Pope Francis passes up chance to condemn Uganda’s anti-gays (The Observer

Climate and environmental risk screening for rural water supply in Ethiopia (ODI

Between Rwanda and Mandela (Africa is a Country

You’ll Never Guess The Most Charitable Nation In The World (Goats and Soda

The Adaptation Gap (and how to deal with it) (From Poverty to Power

My environmentalism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit (Development Truths

The billion dollar bill: Australia’s climate finance requirement, 2016-2020 (DevPolicy

Countdown to 2015 is Dead! Long Live Countdown to 2030! (Development Horizons

A training transformation in reproductive health (Devex

Ethiopia: The Biggest African Refugee Camp No One Talks About (Inter Press Service