Trudeau arrives at UN climate conference for day of bilateral meetings

Each leader will make a short address today during two simultaneous work sessions

Police officers with sniffer dogs of the French Police bomb disposal unit lab patrol at the entrance of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Police officers with sniffer dogs of the French Police bomb disposal unit lab patrol at the entrance of the COP21  in Paris.  (Francois Mori, AP Photo)

PARIS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived at a sprawling airfield outside Paris where world leaders have gathered for the start of two weeks of international climate negotiations.

Leaders and heads of government from some 150 countries are on hand as French President Francois Hollande formally kicks off the 21st United Nations “council of the parties” — or COP21.

Each leader is to make a short address today in two simultaneous work sessions in an unusual start for a UN climate conference, where leaders typically arrive in the closing days to announce the outcome.

Trudeau has scheduled an exhausting round of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference today before flying back to Ottawa late this evening.

He’ll also take part in an event with U.S. President Barack Obama where 20 countries are expected to pledge new funding toward clean technology innovation in an alliance with some of the world’s highest-profile private sector investors.

Trudeau announced in Malta last week that Canada will contribute $2.65 billion over five years to a climate adaptation and mitigation fund.

On Monday at the conference, Canada was credited with a $30-million contribution toward a $250-million fund to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to immediate climate threats.

“Given that we’re already locked into climate change trajectories for many years to come, increased investment in adaptation has to be at the core of the new climate agreement,” said Naoko Ishii, the head of the Global Environmental Facility which is administering the fund. The statement came in a release issued Monday.

The climate summit technically got underway Sunday afternoon at the former military airbase and civilian airport in Le Bourget, just outside Paris, with a minute of silence for the victims of this month’s terrorist attacks in the French capital.

Follow Maclean’s Laura Payton for updates from COP21

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