LE BOURGET, France – The so-called Paris Agreement was made on Saturday December 12, when delegates at the United Nations from 196 countries recognized the urgent threat climate change represents to planet Earth and established an agenda to act against it. This is the first agreement ever to call on all nations, including developing countries, to take action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started on November 30, bringing together world leaders to discuss plans to stop global warming by preventing temperatures from increasing over 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels, an average believed to be the highest amount of warming our planet can afford to reach without a collapse in natural ecosystems.

Credit: The Chicago Tribune/REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Loud applause erupted as France’s foreign minister gaveled the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius between now and 2100. Credit: The Chicago Tribune/REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/AP


After 13 days of negotiating in a Paris suburb, the 196 nations marked the first agreement that could significantly change how the countries produce and consume energy. The goal is to reduce dependency on fossil fuels in order to increase the use of cleaner forms of energy. Officials admitted that the agreement alone will not help reach that objective, but they still believe it is a huge step, since it has been designed to support governments and private industry in their ambition of making further cuts in emissions by taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology.

“This universal and ambitious agreement sends a clear signal to governments, businesses, and investors everywhere: the transformation of our global economy from one fueled by dirty energy to one fueled by sustainable economic growth is now firmly and inevitably underway”, declared Al Gore, Vice President of Climate Change for the World Wildlife Federation.

Gore added that world leader’s grandchildren will serve as a reflection of the humanity’s will to solve the climate problem and that they will remember December 12, 2015, as the day when the nations decided to act in favor of the Earth’s preservation.

First agreement to include developing countries in the agenda

The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 was the first international climate agreement. As explained by Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, it failed because only the rich countries were required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while developing countries such as India, Korea, Brazil and South Africa have been causing a major increase in emissions since 2005, when the Protocol was adopted. The UNFCCC in 2011, held in Durban, South Africa, broke with the Kyoto Protocol and the world leaders decided to start developing another legal instrument by December this year.

In contrast, the Paris Agreement states that every year rich nations will give $100 billion to developing countries by 2020, in order to promote more environmentally-friendly economies and support them in their fight against climate change. The 31-pages-long accord also fosters universal access to sustainable energy in poor countries, especially in Africa.

President Barack Obama, who has shown a great interest in fighting climate change throughout his administration, last year forced a deal with China to work together in reducing both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions, which make up the greatest in the entire world.

Source: Washington Post