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Landmark climate deal adopted

Nearly 200 nations adopted the first global pact to fight climate change today, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution, but imposing no sanctions on countries that don’t.

The “Paris agreement” aims to keep global temperatures 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.

Loud applause erupted in the conference hall after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius gaveled the agreement. Some delegates wept and others embraced.

The agreement, South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa said, “can map a turning point to a better and safer world.”

“This is huge,” tweeted U.S. President Barack Obama. “Almost every country in the world just signed on to the #ParisAgreement on climate change – thanks to American leadership.”

In the pact, the countries commit to limiting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.

In practical terms, achieving that goal means the world would have to stop emitting greenhouse gases altogether in the next half-century, scientists said. That’s because the less we pollute, the less pollution nature absorbs.

Achieving such a reduction in emissions would involve a complete transformation of how people get energy, and many activists worry that despite the pledges, countries are not ready to make such profound and costly changes.

The deal now needs to be ratified by individual governments – at least 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global emissions –  and would take effect in 2020.

It is the first pact to ask all countries to join the fight against global warming, representing a sea change in U.N. talks that previously required only wealthy nations to reduce their emissions.


The deal commits countries to keeping the rise in global temperatures by the year 2100 compared with pre-industrial times “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and says they will “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The world has already warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times.

Ben Strauss, a sea level researcher at Climate Central, said limiting warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees could potentially cut in half the projected 280 million people whose houses will eventually be submerged by rising seas.

More than 180 countries have already presented plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions— a breakthrough in itself after years of stalemate. But those pledges are not enough to achieve the goals in the accord, meaning countries will need to cut much more to meet the goal.

“We’ve agreed to what we ought to be doing, but no one yet has agreed to go do it,” said Dennis Clare, a negotiator for the Federated States of Micronesia. “It’s a whole lot of pomp, given the circumstances.”

The agreement sets a goal of getting global greenhouse gas emissions to start falling “as soon as possible”; they have been generally rising since the industrial revolution.

It says wealthy nations should continue to provide financial support for poor nations to cope with climate change and encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis. That reflects Western attempts to expand the donor base to include advanced developing countries such as China.

In what would be a victory for small island nations, the agreement includes a section highlighting the losses they expect to incur from climate-related disasters that it’s too late to adapt to. However, a footnote specifies that it “does not involve or provide any basis for any liability or compensation” — a key U.S. demand because it would let the Obama administration sign on to the deal without going through the Republican-led Senate.

The adoption of the agreement was held up for nearly two hours as the United States tried – successfully, in the end – to change the wording on emissions targets. The draft agreement had said developed countries “shall” commit to reducing emissions; in adopting the pact organizers changed the language to say those countries “should” make that commitment.

Experts said the deal probably won’t need congressional approval. (AP)

2 Responses to Landmark climate deal adopted

  1. John Johns
    John Johns December 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    let all the leaders that fly from all over the world to go to events such as these lead by example n swim cross the ocean or better yet sail like they did 300 years ago….after all cant use nothing that burns the evil carbon dioxide right ?

  2. jrsmith December 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    This is so rubbish, and stupid no one can control nature, no one can control the effects on what nature brings to the world. Politicians are never honest people, they get together and plan, all with an ulterior motive. How could they jump and cheer as if something has being achieved, being so deceptive , of not wanting to imposing sanctions on major countries , like china who’s population ,most days wear masks to survive. Still polluting.

    Everything is being blame on climate change, (THE WORLD IS RETURNING TO ITS TRUE FORM, BECAUSE OF THE PULLUTION AND DESTRUCTION , OF INDUSTRIALATION BY SO CALL DEVELOPED COUNTRIES),The only honest happening ,which can be seen, is the clean of the pollution which had built up during these periods of decades upon decades.

    As for our Caribbean region, we never had, or was offered the chance of industrialization , so we never played any real part in the pollution of the world s atmosphere, our region , still deems to be one the cleanest part of the globe. visible problems we will suffer in Barbados is shore line deteoration,which can be put right, if the government so chooses, but we would always be reminded by the ,government of the day ,about climate change ,using the same as an excuse ,partly allowing our infrastructure to continuously fall apart.


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