147 world leaders to attend Paris climate summit

Voluntary pledges to curb greenhouse gases made by 183 nations are aimed at capping global warming at two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels (AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure)

Paris (AFP) - A total 147 heads of state and government have confirmedt heir attendance of the climate summit due to start in Paris next week, the French government said Tuesday.

The conference, from November 30 to December 11, is tasked with signing the first-ever truly universal pact to curb global warming, and opens just two weeks after jihadists killed 130 people in the French capital.

France has said there had been no cancellations, and US President Barack Obama has urged fellow world leaders to come to Paris "to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business."

A French foreign ministry official told AFP that "147 heads of state and government are expected" at the highly-anticipated Conference of Parties.

This would make it one of the biggest gatherings ever of world leaders outside the UN General Assembly in New York.

The previous largest climate gathering in Copenhagen in 2009, amassed some 115 world leaders, according to the UN climate forum.

France has insisted it will not "give in" to violence by postponing a summit which must produce a deal committing all the world's nations to climate action starting in 2020.

Gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people out for dinner, drinks and a concert on the night of November 13, prompting the authorities to cancel two mass rallies that had been organised to coincide with the summit.

The conference itself will gather some 40,000 delegates, journalists, observers and exhibitors.

The meeting's goal is to produce a pact that can limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

This is the threshold beyond which scientists warns our planet will become increasingly inhospitable -- racked by superstorms, drought and land-gobbling sea level rise.

About 170 countries have already filed voluntary carbon-curbing pledges to underpin the future pact, but scientists say the aggregate effect falls far short and Earth is on course for warming of about 3 C, or more.

Negotiators remain deeply divided, with rich and developing nations arguing about who must do what to curb carbon emissions, and who must pay.