EU celebrates Paris climate deal

Last weekend, world leaders reached a landmark agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to tackle climate change. 195 countries signed the legally binding agreement, while the driving force behind the deal was the so-called “High Ambition Coalition”, comprised of the EU and developing countries from across the world.

The High Ambition Coalition was masterminded by the EU, European and other developing nations and conceived earlier this year. The Coalition included both developed and developing countries from every continent, including more than 80 countries and the EU. The group was formed to resolve and prevent the problems that arose in Copenhagen from occurring again in Paris.

The Paris deal was largely based on the cumulative work achieved by this group during their meetings which laid the foundations for COP21’s success, all the while building support and adding members throughout the year.

Paris agreement key points

·        To limit global warming 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

·        Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production

·        Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development

·        To peak global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible

·        To reach a balance between balance between emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century

·        Governments will come together every five years to set more ambitious targets and review progress

·        Developed countries will continue to mobilising USD 100 billion per year until 2025 when a new collective goal will be set.

Following the agreement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “This robust agreement will steer the world towards a global clean energy transition. This deal is also a success for the European Union. We have long been the global leader in climate action, and the Paris Agreement now reflects our ambition worldwide”.

While European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, who lead the EU negotiating team said, “Paris is the culmination of years of efforts by Europe for a universal multilateral agreement on climate change. Europe has been a strong voice for ambition, bringing the European experience of effective climate policy and our tradition of negotiations and rules-based international cooperation. Before Paris, and in Paris, Europe has been at the heart of the High Ambition Coalition of developed and developing countries. Together, we helped shape the successful outcome of this conference.”

Though the agreement has been widely praised as a success, many organisations and NGOs have criticised the deal, highlighting that global commitments (INDCs) still fall short of the requirements needed to meet emission targets.

For Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s speech at the COP21 press conference, click here

For the European Commission COP21 press release, click here

For the Paris deal reached at COP21, click here


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