COP21: The key things you need to know

Image from UNFCC

As the world waited for the most ground breaking moment in climate history, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius broke for lunch. Only in France! Finally at 6pm Saturday 12th November the deal was done, remarkably quickly after all the build up and to much jubliation!

And to be fair to the French hosts of the 21st Conference of the Parties, if it wasn’t for their dedication to lining stomachs we may never have reached this game-changing milestone. Their diplomatic efforts and organisation of the summit has been praised world-over – a far cry from the disastrous 2009 Copenhagen summit.

Over the last two weeks over 195 nations have come together to agree to the deepest and strongest commitments to action on climate change the world has ever seen. Despite deep divisions and, at times tense negotiations, they succeeded.

Today’s agreement is the first since 1997’s Kyoto Protocol to contain commitments on how to limit global carbon emissions. And unlike Kyoto, which the USA never signed, this text has all major economies and emitters on board.

Fabius told the world this morning that although there have been compromises, the deal was fair and balanced.

The text – stripped down to 31 pages from an original 89, contains:

  • A legally binding framework to cut emissions;
  • Intention to reach greenhouse gas emission neutrality in the second half of the century;
  • $100 billion pledged in climate finance for developing countries by 2020;
  • 5 year review process to raise ambitions;
  • Commitment to limit global warming to 2C, and ambition to limit to 1.5C.

Read it in full here.

Suzy Greenwood

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search