Barrack Obama has described the agreement reached at the COP21 summit as “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have”. He went on to say that he believes that the Paris deal marks the “turning point” towards a future of no carbon emissions.
India and China were among the other nations to praise the climate change agreement. However, there are some activists who believe that the deal will not be enough to save our planet.
The COP21 agreement has set out the target of reducing the global temperature increase to below 2C by the year 2100.
The summit was attended by representatives from almost 200 different countries, which was the largest ever meeting of world leaders in history. It is the first ever international agreement to commit all countries to reduce their carbon emissions.
The agreement will come into force in 2020; it will be legally binding in some ways and voluntary in others.
Obama went on to say that the “ambitious” deal represented a real thirst for international action on climate change:
“Together, we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one.”
“In short, this agreement will mean less of the carbon pollution that threatens our planet and more of the jobs and economic growth driven by low-carbon investments.”
Obama did however say that the agreement was not “perfect”.
Xie Zhenhua, the chief negotiator for China, also believes that the deal has its flaws but said that “this does not prevent us from marching historical steps forward”.
China had been one of the nations to state that the richer countries in the world needed to do more to help developing countries with the financial burden of curbing carbon emissions.
Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, said that there were “no winners or losers” at the climate summit.
He took to Twitter to say:
“Climate justice has won and we are all working towards a greener future.”
The chairman of a group representing the world’s poorest countries, Giza Gaspar Martins, said:
“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”
However the director of activist group Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden, said:
“It’s outrageous that the deal that’s on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world’s most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations.”
A group that represents business leaders in favour of higher sustainability, WBCSD, tweeted saying that the deal signifies the fact that “the transition to a low carbon economy is unstoppable”.
Elements of the agreement can be enforced legally, such as reviews into individual nations efforts to meet the target and that nations must set a target for reductions their carbon emissions. However, the targets will not be enforceable by law.
Matt McGrath of the BBC was in Paris, reporting on the summit. He said:
“The speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief. The influence of the COP president, Laurent Fabius, cannot be overstated. His long diplomatic career gave him a credibility seldom matched in this arena. He used his power well.
The deal that has been agreed, under Mr Fabius, is without parallel in terms of climate change or of the environment. It sets out a clear long-term temperature limit for the planet and a clear way of getting there. There is money for poor countries to adapt, there is a strong review mechanism to increase ambition over time. This is key if the deal is to achieve the aim of keeping warming well below 2C.
More than anything though the deal signifies a new way for the world to achieve progress – without it costing the Earth. A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.”
Many commentators believe that effort to force emissions targets upon nations was a major factor in the failure of the Copenhagen summit in 2009.
Many countries, such as India and China, did not wish to sign up to an agreement that they felt would scupper their development and economic growth.
However, this summit was focused around allowing nations to submit their own plans, which were referred to as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. This meant that countries could submit their own methods of reducing carbon emissions instead of having them imposed upon them.