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climate change deal

December 16, 2016

A landmark climate change deal has been agreed in Paris, France, involving 195 countries in all.

In US President Barack Obama’s words, the pact offers “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have.” According to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, it “sets the stage for progress in ending poverty, strengthening peace and ensuring a life of dignity and opportunity for all.”

The Paris Agreement’s headlining component is a below-two degrees C global warming rise, to have been secured by 2099. In other words, all participants have agreed that they’ll work to stop average global temperatures increasing by two degrees or more over the coming eight full decades (the agreement enters force in 2020). A one-degree rise, between the pre-industrial age and now, has already happened.

Progress reviews will be carried out twice a decade and all parties will try to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions reach their highest point as soon as they can. Just developed nations are expected to achieve absolute emissions reductions: undeveloped nations have more leeway and can deliver progressive reductions over time.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement was the culmination of two weeks of discussions staged at COP21 – the 21st assembly of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) nations. 31 pages long, it details not only how countries will guarantee the two degrees Centigrade ceiling can’t be breached but also features funding plans for undeveloped nations. By 2020, they’ll be receiving a collective $100bn every single year. Plans exists to increase this amount in due course.

“I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world”, Obama declared. “Full implementation of this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change, and will pave the way for even more progress, in successive stages, over the coming years.”

“When historians look back on this day, they will say that global cooperation to secure a future safe from climate change took a dramatic new turn here in Paris,” Mr Ban added. “Today, we can look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren, and we can finally say…that we have joined hands to bequeath a more habitable world to them and to future generations.”

COP21 image copyright Surfnico – courtesy Wikimedia Commons


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