Monday 19 February 2018

Final text of global climate change deal released

French President Francois Hollande (L) takes his seat at a plenary session with Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (C)
French President Francois Hollande (L) takes his seat at a plenary session with Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius (C)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE final text of a global climate deal has been released.

The Paris Agreement includes ambitious targets to limit global emissions and prevent dangerous climate change, and commits $100bn a year from 2020 to developing countries most at risk.

In a powerful speech delivered to almost 200 delegates, president of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), Laurent Fabius, said the proposed accord was ambitious, fair, balanced and legally-binding, and urged nations to accept.

He said it took into account human rights, and a commitment to increase ambition. Finance for vulnerable countries was included, with a review period included, and there was increased transparency.

The draft text, which is subject to ratification by parties later today, states that developed countries like Ireland must play their part in moving to “sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production”.

The main points also include:

• A commitment to keep average temperature rises to no more than 2C, with a goal to reduce these rises to 1.5C.

• Emissions will peak “as soon as possible” and reach neutral levels in the second half of the century. This means emissions must be balanced by developing forests and other carbon sinks, which absorb greenhouse gases.

• Countries will have to ramp up commitments to reduce emissions every five years.

• There is also a commitment to food security, human rights and gender, which were not in earlier drafts.

• Forestry is given special mention, as is protecting all ecosystems including oceans.

“This COP21 is a true turning point for a universal, legal agreement,” Mr Fabius said. “In December 2015, we feel in Paris there is a certain momentum, in particular around mobilising civil society.

“This has never been as good as today. Our responsibility to history is immense. If we were to fail, how could we rebuilt this hope?

“One of us, the other day, reminded us of Nelson Mandela's sentence – it always seems impossible until it's done.

“The same hero also said: 'None of us acting alone can be successful'. Success is built collectively. In this room, you will be deciding on an historic agreement. The world is holding its breath. It counts on all of us.”

Two weeks of talks have been characterised by all-night negotiations and side meetings where small groups attempted to hammer out a deal.

All countries must accept the agreement for it to be ratified, and if adopted, it will be first global comprehensive climate agreement.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said nations had come to a “defining moment”.

“The document with which you have been presented is historic. Nature is sending urgent signals. People in countries are threatened as never before. We must do as the science dictates. We must protect the planet, and for that we need all hands on deck.

“I look forward to joining you later today to celebrate an agreement which will offer new hope.”

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