Thursday 27 October 2016

Leaders hail Paris climate change deal

Published 13/12/2015 | 12:26

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Paris deal was a sign of hope
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Paris deal was a sign of hope

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has applauded the global pact to fight climate change that was adopted by nearly 200 nations in Paris.

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Merkel said in a statement that the climate agreement marks "the first time that the entire world community has obligated itself to act - to act in the battle against global climate change".

The German chancellor said while there was still a lot of work ahead, the deal is a "sign of hope that we will manage to secure the life conditions of billions of people for the future."

The Paris agreement aims to keep global warming from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.

Israel's prime minister also welcomed the agreement.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal "important". He said Israel has an interest, like other countries, in slowing down global warming if not halting it altogether.

Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay said a budget of about 200 million dollars (£131m) has been devoted to meet climate targets.

He said Israel would move toward renewable energy sources, cleaner technology and more public transport. "We have a lot of steps to do and we are doing it now."

Pope Francis is encouraging concerted efforts by all so that the climate pact can be put into action.

Francis has made care for the Earth's environment one of his papacy's themes, insisting that the world's poor suffer heavily when climate change isn't addressed.

Speaking to pilgrims and tourists at the Vatican, he said the deal's "implementation requires concerted effort and generous dedication on the part of everyone".

Francis expressed hope that "special attention, paid to the most vulnerable, be guaranteed." He also urged "the entire international community to continue, with solicitude, on the path undertaken, in the sign of solidarity that will become ever more positive".

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said he was stunned by the Paris climate agreement adopted by more than 190 countries.

Kim said he was "in a bit of a shock, a happy shock" after the deal was hammered out.

He said the Paris talks concluded with "something far more ambitious than the highest hopes" going into the negotiations.

"It's going to be hugely challenging," Kim said. "But I think for me what this agreement does is it tells us, whether you think it's realistic or not, get to work."

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