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COP21 climate talks open with optimism & determination

World leaders will negotiate a global deal that requires all countries to unite against climate change.

Conference attendee sit in a conference room on the opening day of the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, on November 30, 2015 in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of the French capital Paris. More than 150 world leaders are meeting under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as Paris 2015 from November 30 to December 11. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - The COP21 climate talks have opened in Paris with much optimism from observers and determination from world leaders, who have gathered to negotiate a global deal that will require all countries to unite to combat climate change and its effects.

The months leading up to the historic summit, held under the auspices of the United Nations, saw dozens of preparatory meetings…

But there's still much left to be decided.

Two weeks, more than 190 nations and more than 40,000 delegates will fight over a 20-page text.

There's a lot at stake.

Negotiation lines have already been clearly drawn between rich and poor countries, with several issues that could derail these talks.

Who should pay for the damage that's already been done? And the havoc that's on the horizon?

How do you make an agreement legally binding?

What sort of punishment will countries face for not reaching their emissions targets?

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the climate deal must look after the poor and vulnerable.

He says history is calling and the leaders negotiating about the future of humanity must face it with courage and vision.