After two weeks’ debate, envoys from 195 nations approved the first global pact to fight climate change on December 12 in Le Bourget outside Paris, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution.
With the Paris Agreement, the participating countries aim to keep global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and try to reach 1.5C if possible.
By the second half of this century, a balance must be achieved between the emissions from human activity and the amount that can be handled by carbon-absorbing organism or carbon storage technology.
Developed countries should take “the lead” by making absolute emissions cuts, and provide support for developing nations’ emissions cuts.
The collective impact of countries’ efforts will be reviewed on a five-year basis from 2023, and countries will be thus informed to update and enhance their pledges.
As to the subject of finance, the agreement refers to the 100 billion U.S. dollars a year that rich countries had pledged to muster by 2020 as a “floor,” and the amount must be updated by 2025.
Chinese special representative Xie Zhenhua said that “the outcome has bearing on mankind’s fight against climate change and our future of sustainable development.”
“While the agreement is not perfect, it doesn’t prevent us from taking a historical step forward,” he added, calling on the world’s developed countries to abide by their pledge to provide financing, technology development and transfer, and capacity building to developing countries.