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World leaders open pivotal climate talks in Paris saying they must achieve a binding agreement to help slow global climate change.

(CNN)The introductions and formalities are over. Now, it’s crunch time to get a deal on what U.S. President Barack Obama calls an “ambitious” global climate change agreement.

Leaders of 150 nations are in the second day of the COP21 conference Tuesday. COP stands for Conference of Parties, an annual United Nations forum to try to tackle climate change on a global political level.

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A guide to the 2015 COP21 conference.

COP21, otherwise referred to as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, unites leaders, government officials, scientists and influential speakers from around the world to promote global action for addressing climate change. This year’s event takes place November 30 through December 11 and will include government representation from more than 190 nations. Close to 50,000 participants and international delegates are expected to attend.

Prior COP events with significant impacts upon history books include the first COP in Berlin in 1995; COP3 in Kyoto, where the Kyoto Protocol international treaty was first conceptualised; COP11, which introduced the Montreal Action Plan; COP15 in Copenhagen; and COP17 in Durban, which led to the creation of the Green Climate Fund. This year’s event is also expected to be particularly noteworthy: It is the first time in more than 20 years that such gathering convenes with the express goal to produce a legally binding, universal agreement on climate and sustainability efforts moving forward. If this year’s conference is a success, it could mean a world of change that our planet desperately needs.

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21 Twitter Accounts to Follow Ahead of COP21

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COP21 is right around the corner, so if you’re interested in getting the scoop straight from the professionals, CSOs, activists, policy-makers, officials and politicians making it happen (in France and beyond), we’ve put together a handy and diverse Twitter list with the 21 movers & shakers you should keep track of in the coming weeks.

Via Enablon

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World leaders opened pivotal climate talks Monday in Paris, saying the stakes are too high to end the conference without achieving a binding agreement to help slow the pace of global climate change.

“A political moment like this may not come again,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders gathered for the conference. “We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity.”

The talks began with a moment of silence for victims of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, and the tragedy served as a touchstone for world leaders urging unity and action.

“What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it,” President Barack Obama said in his speech.

French President Francois Hollande noted that “never have the stakes been so high because this is about the future of the planet, the future of life.”

“And yet two weeks ago, here in Paris itself, a group of fanatics was sowing the seeds of death in the streets,” he said.

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On the eve of the COP21 talks in Paris, FRANCE 24 brings you a special night of programming dedicated to the climate, with previously unseen reports and interviews, interspersed with some of the best moments from “Down to Earth”, our weekly show exploring innovations by people around the world committed to sustainable development. Renewable energy, agriculture and climate change, pollution in cities, climate refugees, reducing CO2 emissions… expect all this and more.

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Just over a year ago, Microsoft announced its largest wind purchase to date: a 175 megawatt (MW) wind facility outside of Chicago that would generate more than enough energy to fully power Microsoft’s Chicago data center.

Today, we’re proud to announce that the Pilot Hill Wind Project is up and running—delivering clean, renewable energy that will power that facility for the next 20 years. This project will allow our Chicago data center to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy, today and into the future. EDF Renewable Energy, owner and operator of Pilot Hill, estimates that the new energy coming onto the grid will prevent approximately 328,000 metric tons of new greenhouse gas emissions per year.

I’m excited to see renewable energy from Pilot Hill coming on line. Power purchase agreements like this one ensure that our nearby data center will have a reliable source of renewable energy for years to come. We know that our data centers have a substantial energy footprint, so working to power them directly through local renewable energy projects is an important strategy to mitigate our impact on the environment.

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