On Saturday December 12, after 13 days of meetings, debates and negotiations among nations, a universal agreement on climate was finally approved! This agreement is perhaps not perfect, but what a victory when we realize that the challenge of getting the approval of 195 countries in order to move things forward for the planet has been successfully met, after 40 years of conferences!
What is COP21?
The First World Climate Conference occurred in 1979 in Geneva, Switzerland. Several conferences have followed, searching for solutions to protect our environment.
To reach a universal agreement on this subject, delegates from the 196 countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met regularly to produce the measures that were adopted in Paris in 2015.
COP21, chaired by Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister Laurent Fabius, took place between November 30 and December 12. The aim of this conference was to bring all countries to an agreement to keep global warming below 2ºC (3.6ºF).
The 2ºC objective, what does that mean?
Over the last few decades, the overall temperature of the Earth has only increased. Despite various life-cycle theories, scientists have unanimously declared that the current level of global warming is not natural. Humans with their industrial activities contribute significantly to accelerate the process, to the point that the planet and its inhabitants suffer daily and face extreme situations.
Therefore, if we do not change our behavior quickly, warming will exceed 2°C and this will cause very serious climatic consequences. Experts at the IPCC and the Ministry of Sustainable Development believe that global emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced by 40% to 70% by 2050 and that carbon neutrality (zero emissions) must be reached by the end of the century at the latest.
The commitment of the COP
º At the conference which was held in Copenhagen in 2009, no agreement was adopted, although the goal of 2°C was validated. In 2010, Mexico enabled an agreement of the objective of 2°C by the creation of institutions such as the Green Climate Fund.
This year developed countries have pledged to mobilize $100B a year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change, a real challenge. In 2014, according to an OECD report $62B was given to developing countries to help them reach their climate goals, which shows that the $100B objective is possible.
º COP21 sought to validate a universal agreement to limit the rise in average global temperature to 2°C by 2100. It encouraged nations and communities to find solutions to improve the situation: the use of renewable energy, for example, was one of the key points discussed at the conference.
The success of COP21 in Paris was announced December 12 to great joy around the world: for the first time, a Climate Conference was able to adopt a universal agreement! Nations of the world have pledged themselves to meet the objective of 2ºC for the planet. The greater goal of 1.5ºC has also been put forward, and countries like France have already expressed their desire to do everything to get there and to accelerate the process of maintaining our climate.
The COP21 agreement
The Climate Conference in Paris has produced an historic universal agreement, that all countries are involved in the objective of not exceeding 2°C of global warming by the end of the century. Governments should act to implement solutions by 2025.
The agreement has real flaws in that there won’t be controls to assess the concrete achievement of the commitments made by governments, and that countries may withdraw in 2023.
By 2025, if measures are not already taken, it could be too late for the planet. That is why France wanted to aim for a target of 1.5ºC to force a change as soon as 2020, inviting all parties to create a coalition to intervene in a common goal. This goal called for urgent action to protect those most vulnerable to climate-related emergencies.
Therefore, it is not a complete victory for the planet, which is still facing a global threat and may face a point of no return. But as being defeatist doesn’t lead anywhere, this is a victory, announcing the beginning of real awareness and global action. It is for us to continue to carry the message: everyone, individually, has a role to play, and we hope that each nation will play its part! Speeches, rallies and happiness seen on Saturday December 12 at the Paris conference sent a positive and memorable message.
Together we can make a difference!