195 nations seal a historic climate change agreement

RSTV Bureau

Le Bourget: French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, second, right, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon applaud after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015. AP/PTI

A historic climate change deal has been sealed in Paris after 13 days of intense negotiations by 195 countries. The landmark deal aims to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and commits a sum of USD 100 billion a year to help developing nations pursue clean economic growth.

On Saturday, 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and take common climate action.

This new deal, which will come into effect from 2020, has ended the decades-long row between rich and poor nations over who takes the responsibility to cap global warming and deal with the consequences.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has claimed that the agreement which is 31 pages long acknowledges the notion of “climate justice” and takes into account the countries’ differentiated responsibilities and their respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.

Many other leaders at the summit called the deal “differentiated, fair, sustainable, dynamic, balanced and legally binding”.

The Paris accord sets a target of limiting warming of the planet to “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius compared with the Industrial Revolution, while aiming for an even more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“I see the room, I see the reaction is positive, I hear no objection. The Paris climate accord is adopted,” Fabius declared while adopting the accord.

The new deal is said to have a strong system of transparency, periodic reviews and independent assessments to help hold every country accountable for meeting its commitments.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the agreement a “monumental triumph”.

“The Paris Agreement is a monumental triumph for people and our planet,” said Ban in a tweet, immediately after the new Agreement was adopted.

The negotiators reached “solid results on all key points,” with an agreement that demonstrates solidarity and “is ambitious, flexible, credible and durable,” said the UN Secretary General.

“All countries have agreed to hold global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius…”Governments have agreed to binding, robust, transparent rules of the road to ensure that all countries do what they have agreed across a range of issues,” Ban added.

In addition, the accord establishes a review mechanism in which every five years, beginning in 2018, Parties will regularly review what is needed in line with science. Not just that, it also gives a strong assurance to developing countries that they will be supported as they pursue clean and climate resilient growth.

“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,” the UN chief proudly announced.

US President Barack Obama too lauded the efforts of the negotiators in Paris for clinching the deal that had been elusive for decades.

“This agreement represents the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet we’ve got. I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Obama said in an address to the nation from the White House.

“What matters is that today, we can be more confident that this planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation and that’s what I care about…. This agreement is ambitious, with every nation setting and committing to their own specific targets,” said Obama.

“We are already making strong progress towards meeting the existing goal to mobilise USD 100 billion from a wide variety of sources, including both public and private, by 2020,” the White House said while talking about the need to shift global investment flows towards clean energy, forest protection, and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Obama had been following the climate change negotiations very closely. In the last few days, he had telephoned several world leaders, including PM Modi, to discuss the negotiations.

(With inputs from PTI)