“Democracy Now!” is on the streets of Paris and in the meeting halls of COP21, the United Nations’ fraught, highly policed attempt to craft a global, intergovernmental solution to the existential problem of climate change. What follows is the program’s full report on the summit’s first day:

More than half a million people took part in rallies around the world ahead of today’s opening of the 21st United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, France. President Obama and more than 100 other heads of state have arrived for two weeks of negotiations aimed at reaching an accord on global warming. Sunday’s global day of action for climate justice saw protesters rally in countries including Colombia, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Chile, Kenya, Canada, and Britain. Broadcasting from the Paris summit, we air some of their voices.

A major rally in Paris on the eve of the U.N. climate summit was canceled after authorities banned public protests in the aftermath of this month’s Islamic State terror attacks. But on Sunday, tens of thousands of people formed a human chain stretching for blocks. After the human chain action ended, thousands of Parisians and international activists defied the French ban on protests and tried to march through the downtown streets. They were met by hundreds of riot police, who used tear gas, sound bombs and pepper spray. More than 200 protesters were arrested. Democracy Now! was live on the scene interviewing people throughout the streets.

Shortly after arriving in France for the United Nations Climate Summit, President Obama laid a single rose at a memorial for the victims of the Paris attacks outside the Bataclan, the concert hall where the deadliest violence took place on November 13th. Democracy Now! visited the site on Saturday night.

Democracy Now! catches up with Dallas Goldtooth of the comedy group the 1491s, and his father Tom Goldtooth, executive director of Indigenous Environmental Network, at The Place to B, a Paris hostel that serves as the center for independent journalists covering COP21. Tom Goldtooth recently won the Gandhi Peace Award. “If you look at the scenario we’re facing right now in Paris, you have a heightened police state, you have unreasonable bureaucracy, limited resources,” Dallas says.

Among those who took to the streets of Paris in protest Sunday was the French farmer, activist and politician José Bové, one of the world’s leading critics of corporate globalization and genetically modified organisms. Bové is a sheep farmer who became famous for helping to destroy a McDonald’s under construction in France to protest trade policies that hurt small farmers. He is also a member of the European Parliament. Bové joins us to discuss France’s ban on protests in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and what’s at stake at the United Nations summit on climate change.

Across the world, indigenous and poor communities who have contributed least to carbon pollution are most often the most impacted by climate change, which threatens their land, food supply and access to water. At the UN Climate Change summit in Paris, we speak with indigenous activists about the existential threat of climate change.

Ahead of the 21st UN climate change conference in Paris, more than 170 nations submitted plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But experts say the proposed targets end up falling far short of what is needed to mitigate against drastic heating of the planet, and that the agreements during the negotiations are not likely to be binding. We discuss what’s at stake in Paris and how activists are responding with bestselling author Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate.”

— Adapted from “Democracy Now!” by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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