Climate change agreement

Climate change agreement

talks in Paris have received the final versionof a landmark global accord to tackle climate change.

“This will be a major leap for humankind,” said French President Francois Hollande, encouraging countries to adopt theagreement in Paris later on Saturday.

“Nature is sending urgent signals. People and countries are threatened as never before,” he told delegates assembled to hear the key points of the agreement from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

“We have to do as science dictates. We must protect the planet that sustains us. For that, we need all hands on deck,” said Ban.

Here are key points and views on the agreement from negotiators and civil society experts on the ground in Le Bourget, Paris:

The agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre industrial levels.

Toachieve that temperature goal, countries aim to peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter so as to achieve a balance between emissions and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.

Maarten van Aalst, director, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

“This deal is a critical step towards a safer world. The long term goal is a strong collective commitment that should prevent future risks from getting out of hand. Importantly, the agreement also recognises that risks are already rising, andthat we need to step up our efforts to build resilience, especially focusing on the most vulnerable groups and communities.”

Michael Jacobs, senior adviser for the New Climate Economy project

“Historians will see this as the turning point: the moment when the world started shifting decisively away from fossil fuels and towards clean and safe energy systems. But the power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now,
Climate change agreement
activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry. This didnt save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.

Tasneem Essop,WWF head of delegation

By including a long term temperature goal of well below 2C of warming with a reference to a 1.5C goal, the latest draft text sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science. What we need now is for their actions, including emission reductions and finance, to add up to delivering on that goal. There are opportunities to do so built in the agreement.””Now comes the great task of the century how do we meet this new goal? The measures outlined in Paris simply dont get us there.”

Tim Gore, Oxfam climate change policy chief

A temperature goal of 1.5 degrees C of warming is “good, but may ring hollow unless we see significant action in years ahead.”

An existing international mechanism to deal with the unavoidable losses and damages caused by climate change, such as creeping deserts and rising seas, is anchored in the legally binding deal. A promise that it will not be used as a basis for “liability and compensation” a demand from the United States that proved very controversial has been moved to a set of accompanying decisions in a compromise.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate advisor

“For the first time in an international treaty clear consideration has also been given to loss and damage support for countries facing climate change so severe it can’t be adapted to.. Because of our failure to provide adequate support for adaptation, we now have loss and damage as an integral part of the climate regime.”Climate change is already causing devastating impacts for poor people around the world. Developed countries politicised the issue of loss and damage in the Paris talks, trying to limit options for poor countries to deal with climate threats. With the Paris Agreement, all countries promise not to leave the poor behind. Developed countries leave Paris with an even higher moral obligation to scale up support for the most vulnerable people and to cut their emissions more rapidly.

Adriano Campolina, ActionAid chief executive

The issue of loss and damage was a clear point of contention throughout the negotiations. Developing countries called for a deal which would offer support to people suffering the catastrophic consequences of rising sea levels and soaring temperatures. The US and several other rich countries instead took the opportunity of the Paris talks to deny people this right putting them at their mercy for dealing with climate change impacts.

“The phrase does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation in the final agreement cannot be taken lightly. In practice this will strip developing countries of their rights to assistance from richer nations and means, as climate related issues such as displacement and loss of land continue to destroy nations, many will be left to face up to these disasters alone. Essentially those polluting the earth are getting off scot free, with no threat of future compensation. Cooperation alone should not wipe out obligation.”

A floor has been set of $100 billion a year in funding for developing countries to make their economies low carbon and adapt to the impacts of climate change from 2020 through 2025, but it is not in the binding part of the agreement,
Climate change agreement
as some had hoped. A new target for climate finance will be defined by 2025.