COP21: World strikes new global climate deal

A new global climate agreement has been adopted by 195 countries at the United Nations conference on climate change (COP21) in Paris.

The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

The deal highlights a clear long-term goal of net zero emissions by the end of the century, showing that the world is committed to decarbonising.

Progress against this goal will be independently assessed in 2018 and every five years thereafter.

This long-term goal sends a strong signal to investors, businesses, and policy-makers about the shift to a low carbon economy and provides confidence that will help drive the scale of investment needed, UK government’s press release reads.

As part of the deal, in 2020, countries will be expected to update their plans to cut emissions by 2030.

Countries will also be legally obliged to make new post-2030 commitments to reduce emissions every 5 years, from 2025. For the first time, all countries will be held accountable by independent review for acting according to their pledges.

As previously agreed, all developed countries will collectively mobilise $100 billion per year from both the public and private sector, to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries to protect themselves from the effects of climate change and support low carbon development.

Other countries are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.

Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner, said: “This agreement is a major win for Europe. But more importantly, it is a major win for the global community. The agreement also reconfirms global commitment to continued support to those in need of assistance. Now, what has been promised must be delivered. Europe will continue to lead the global low-carbon transition we have agreed.”

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “We have witnessed an important step forward, with an unprecedented number of countries agreeing to a deal to limit global temperature rises and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This is vital for our long-term economic and global security. This deal will ensure all countries are held to account for their climate commitments and gives a clear signal to business to invest in the low carbon transition.”

Following the adoption of the climate change deal, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a statement saying: “The Paris Agreement is nothing less than a historic milestone for the global energy sector. It will speed up the transformation of the energy sector by accelerating investments in cleaner technologies and energy efficiency.

“Driving even stronger action to lower emissions while supporting continued economic growth and expanding energy access will require greater engagement and effort by all. The IEA stands ready to support implementation of the Paris Agreement by helping countries track the transition of the energy sector and by promoting innovation and technology transfer.”

The deal is the culmination of years of efforts by the international community to bring about a universal multilateral agreement on climate change.

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