After terror, should Paris climate talks go on?

Story highlights

  • Despite the attacks, world leaders and diplomats will go to a climate change summit in Paris on November 30
  • Some protests and concerts may be canceled because of security concerns, a report says
  • If successful, the talks could show unity on a key issue that will help shape the future of wealth and poverty on this planet

CNN columnist John D. Sutter is reporting on a tiny number -- 2 degrees -- that may have a huge effect on the future. He'd like your help. Subscribe to the "Two Degrees" newsletter or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He's jdsutter on Snapchat.

(CNN)"You will not have my hatred." That's the message a Parisian man, Antoine Leiris, whose wife was killed in Friday's terror attacks, sent to ISIS, and the world, via Facebook this week.

It's in that spirit of resilience and defiance that world leaders and diplomats still are planning to meet in Paris on November 30 for the most important climate change summit the world has seen. "You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security," Leiris wrote. "You lost. I will carry on as before."
I'm leaving this afternoon to slowly make my way to this climate summit, which has been the subject of the reporting I've done this year for CNN's Two° series. As those of you who have been following this series know, 2 degrees Celsius of warming is the danger zone for climate change. And these Paris negotiations, which are called COP21, for the 21st time the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is convening, are immeasurably important to the 2 degrees target. Currently, countries have pledged pollution cuts that are estimated to warm the climate 2.7 degrees by 2100, which is too much if we want to save countries like the Marshall Islands, which probably would drown beneath rising oceans.
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    Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed at least 129 people, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility, could overshadow the climate negotiations, which will be held from November 30 to December 11. That would be entirely understandable. Reuters reports that some public protests and concerts may be canceled because of security concerns.
    My hope, however, is that the summit will "carry on as before."
    These negotiations, however small they may seem in the face of the global terror threat, and in the shadow of the many lives lost on Friday, and others forever changed by their absence, are hugely important. If successful, they could send the message that the world is united on at least one key issue that will help shape the future of wealth and poverty on this planet, as well as the fate of the natural world.
    Fixing climate change won't stop ISIS, of course, but it would underscore global unity at a time when that sentiment needs to be heard loud and clear, in any area or venue possible. That a mega-drought in Syria has been listed by scientists as one factor of many that helped destabilize that country only adds significance. Climate change doesn't cause war. But it is being shown to exacerbate existing conflicts and grievances, as my colleague Brandon Miller reported last week for Two°, in response to one of your questions on that subject.
    Please continue to let me know how I can be your representative at the climate talks in Paris and beyond. You can do so by sending me a note on Twitter or Snapchat (I'm jdsutter on both), or logging your question on this Google Form. As for what I'll be up to: I'll be in Denmark later this week, learning about that country's ambitious plans to be free of fossil fuels by 2050, and visiting a tiny island that says it already has accomplished that goal. (That trip, by the way, is a direct response to many-many-many of you who have asked me about viable solutions to climate change, in addition to the doom and gloom.) Then I'm on to Paris next week, reporting on the many people who are coming to these negotiations to plead with world leaders to do something substantive to slow climate change and respond to the tragedies it's already creating.
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    Your questions and advice have guided my coverage for Two° all year, and I'd love to hear what you think -- and what you want to know -- about Denmark and the Paris talks. Please don't hesitate to reach out, and I'll do my best to respond, either directly or with coverage.
    Thanks very much for following this ongoing story, and for lending your attention both to the attacks in Paris and Lebanon, as well as to climate change. Look for much more from me in coming weeks. I'll update you on social media, especially Snapchat, and at CNN.com/2degrees. Also consider signing up for the Two° email newsletter.