This past weekend, almost 200 world leaders signed a historic climate agreement, with a main goal of keeping the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels by 2100. The document also includes the ambition to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.
After the agreement was finalized, U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement:
“History will remember this day. The Paris agreement on climate change is a monumental success for the planet and its people.”
Every five years, there will be a review which will encourage nations to make even more drastic changes to save our planet. This is the first agreement in world history that calls on all nations, developed and developing, to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Many leaders are hoping that the agreement will spur private investment in renewables, cleantech, and sustainability, fostering the end of the fossil fuels era.
While the two week conference was a pivotal first step of mitigating the effects of climate change, the targets are nonbinding, and some environmental groups feel as if the climate pact doesn't go far enough to protect low-lying nations such as Bangladesh and the Philippines. For instance, Here is a statement from Erich Pica, President of the U.S. Chapter of Friends of the Earth:
“The United States has hindered ambition. The result is an agreement that could see low-lying islands and coastlines swallowed up by the sea, and many African lands ravaged by drought."
Clearly, there remains a great deal of work to be done.
Here are our highlights from the second week of #COP21 in Paris: