The high points of COP21

The overall world mood is good. And there is widespread optimism as the ‘Paris Agreement’ was voted through.

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The draft is filed keeping in mind the needs of developing nations and respects the obligations to human rights by taking actions addressing climate change without discriminating any minority, race and gender. At the heart of the latest draft text are the statements of overall intent and purpose. The agreement sets its overarching goal as to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

It also sets an aim for countries to reach the peaking of greenhouse house gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter towards reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century.

These are not, of course, as forceful or as rapid as many would like to see, but they represent profound shifts from any global agreement we have ever seen in the past. Biggest battles at COP21 has been the goal of how much we let our planet heat up. Vulnerable countries fought hard for the goal of 1.5°C.

Much is owed to island nations and climate justice groups .Whether it’s 2 or 1.5C – what’s clear is we have to move to get off of fossil fuels fast. Though there were several pledges to Cut Emissions there’s a huge amount of work to be done. A long term goal to get off fossil fuels was set at 2050 as the goal for when the world would be 100% off of fossil fuels.

One of the good things about this agreement is the 5 year review mechanism. Right now the contributions from each country will not bring us a safe world, not even close. But now this agreement would force countries to come back to the table every five years to review their emissions reduction targets and make new, more ambitious cuts

For the first time in history, the whole world has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change. Although different countries will move at different speeds, the transition to a low carbon world is now inevitable. It is good to see the era of politicians burying their heads in the sand is over and new dawn of climate-aware politics.

 

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