Nations adopt Paris agreement on climate change
PARIS — Just 10 minutes after the concluding meeting started, the historic Paris agreement on climate change was adopted by almost 200 countries attending the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in this city.
“I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted,” COP21 President Laurent Fabius said just before he banged the gavel during the COP21 plenary.
Fabius’ announcement was met with applause and standing ovations by those inside the Le Bourget convention center.
The approval of the 12-page agreement came after a one-day extension of the COP21, which was spent on bilateral meetings between the COP21 leadership and the negotiating blocs, will pave the way for the implementation of measures to address climate change.
Among the core provisions of the agreement is the capping of global temperature rise “ to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”
Other provisions that are considered significant are the inclusion of human rights as a bedrock principle, the mention of ecosystem integrity, the commitment on financial and technological support, and the inclusion of a Loss and Damage article.
Countries were later given an opportunity to say their piece. Many talked about the immediate need to implement the agreement.
The European Union vowed to scale up support, especially for countries vulnerable to climate change.
“Today we celebrate, tomorrow we have to act. This is what the world expects from us,” its representative said.
The representative of Nicaragua, however, complained about not being allowed to make an intervention before the adoption of the document.
“That weakens multilateralism (especially) for small countries… Our intention has never been to block the agreement but to work to fine-tune it,” he said as he explained his delegation’s push for a 1.5 degrees Celsius goal instead of 2 degrees Celsius.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the adoption of the agreement is “a victory for all o the planet and for future generations.”
He said that while all countries would find something to disagree with in the agreement, the COP21 has set a new course.
“The world has come together around an agreement that empowers us to chart a new path for our planet,” he said.
China also acknowledged the fact that the Paris agreement is not perfect “and there are some areas in need of improvement.”
“However, this does not prevent us from making historic steps forward,” China’s representative said. “Its success is critical to the global future in response to climate change and the achievement of a sustainable future.”
Australia said the agreement “will send a signal around the world…that we are committed to taking action in a truly global response.”
Meanwhile, Morocco, which will host the next Conference of Parties, said next year’s conference “aims to be a cop of action, innovation and shared solutions.”