Dear speech-fans and friends,

The last weeks of 2015 focused on the Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris and offered what we like:

logos, pathos, and ethos in many speeches, from President of Kiribati to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon …

and a selection of compelling and memorable stories, including the Conference itself.

May this reading inspire us as we start 2016: Happy New Year! 



Mr President, as Chair of this forum, I commend your leadership and your initiative.

H.E. Mr. Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, COP 21 Opening speech, 30 November 2015

Mr President, if I am found to speak with passion, it can only be explained by the fact that I represent a country that is a Small Island Developing State which, like others in common, is characterised by its unique circumstances and special vulnerabilities.

H.E. Mr. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, COP 21 Opening speech, 30 November 2015


Let me take this argument the other way around.

Not what we need to succeed – we all know that – but what we would have to say to our grandchildren if we failed.

We’d have to say, “it was all too difficult”, and they would reply, “well, what was so difficult?”

What was it that was so difficult when the earth was in peril? When sea levels were rising in 2015?
When crops were failing?
When deserts were expanding?

What was it that was so difficult?

Prime Minister David Cameron, COP 21 Opening speech, 30 November 2015


I address you today not only as a President, but as a father, as a grandfather, as a custodian of my culture, and as a representative of a nation that lies just two meters above sea level and risks being submerged by the rising waves.

Everything I know, and everyone I love, is in the hands of all of us gathered here today (…).

This is a time for us to be the leaders that we were elected to be. Let’s get it done.

H.E. Christopher J. Loeak President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, COP 21 Opening speech, 30 November 2015


(English below)

Alors, vous l’avez fait !

Vous avez réussi là où il y avait eu l’échec il y a six ans.

Vous avez réussi alors que le scepticisme était encore à un niveau élevé ces derniers mois.

Vous l’avez fait et vous l’avez fait à Paris. Vous avez été capables de dépasser vos intérêts légitimes pour trouver un accord et pas n’importe quel accord, un accord ambitieux, un accord universel, un accord contraignant.

So you did it!

You succeeded where there was failure six years ago.

You succeeded it where scepticism was still high these last months.

You succeeded it and you did it in Paris. You managed to overcome your legitimate interests to find a deal, and not any deal, an ambitious deal, a universal deal, a binding deal.

President Hollande, COP 21 Closing speech, 12 December 2015


The Paris Agreement on climate change is a monumental triumph for people and planet (…)

In the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time (…) I have visited the climate front lines, from the Arctic to Antarctica and to the Amazon, from the Sahel to the Aral Sea.

Today, we can look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren, and we can finally, after so many years of discussion and delay, tell them that we have joined hands to bequeath a more habitable world to them and to future generations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, COP 21 Closing speech, 12 December 2015


Today, I would like to tell you a story.

A story about how Europe and its allies shaped the Paris deal.

A story about how Europe and its allies managed to put pressure on the big emitters.

A story about how Europe and its allies made history.

Commissioner Arias Cañete, Historic Climate Deal in Europe, 14 December 2015


Maybe the most relevant bit of Franco-Swedish history for the day that the climate talks open here in Paris is this one. Anders Celsius - a great Swedish scientist - worked for a time here in Paris, cooperated with French scientists throughout his life and was rewarded with a pension from Louis XV. He also invented the Celsius temperature scale. So as our leaders do their best to reach the 2 degree target - they have Franco-Swedish cooperation to thank for the way they measure it!

Commissioner Malmström, Trade and Global challenges, 30 November 2015