France will limit the UN climate summit to core negotiations, cancelling planned marches and concerts in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November. Prime Minister Manuel Valls made the announcement on 16 November, two weeks before the climate summit is due to begin.
Valls told RTL radio that "a series of demonstrations planned will not take place and it will be reduced to negotiations". He also mentioned that concerts and festivities would be cancelled due to the state of emergency declared following the attack.
Environmental groups and activists had been planning a Global Climate March to be held on 29 November, one day before the start of the summit. Coalition Climate 21, a coalition of civil society organisations, are the organisers of the climate march and have been holding talks with French authorities in an attempt to discuss how they might be able to proceed with their planned demonstrations.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: "While taking into account the exceptional circumstances, we believe that COP21 cannot take place without the participation or without the mobilisation of civil society in France. Our struggle for climate justice will not stop. We have a duty to stand up and continue to fight for a just and liveable planet for all."
The annual march is planned by environmental activists to put pressure on governments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, keep fossil fuels in the ground and make a 100% transition to renewable energy. Campaign groups Avaaz and 350.org are part of the coalition of organisations supporting the march in Paris.
"The tragedy in Paris has only strengthened our resolve," said Nicolas Haeringer, France Campaigner for 350.org. "This movement for climate justice has always been a movement for peace – a way for people around the world to come together, no matter their background or religion, and fight to protect our common home.
"The group understand and support the French authorities' concerns regarding public safety in the aftermath of the attacks and will oblige with any requirements imposed by authorities to maintain order." Haeringer said that even if the planned events in Paris did not go ahead, people will still be able to join other Global Climate Marches around the world. A message on 350.org's website said that they would soon let people know whether the march in Paris will happen.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that no foreign leaders had asked France to postpone the summit, with many world leaders like President Obama and John Kerry saying they will still be attending. The summit has been designed to get world leaders to agree on a plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020. It is expected that many leaders will discuss the links between climate change and national security this year.
Valls said: "I don't see these attacks having any substantial bearing on the substance of the negotiations, as opposed to Copenhagen, for example, where the 2008-2009 global economic crisis did raise doubts about the costs associated with climate change."