Paris: The global climate change conference in Paris has adopted an international accord aimed at transforming the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades and slowing the pace of global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals. President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”
After 20 years of fraught meetings, including the past two weeks spent in an exhibition hall on the outskirts of Paris, negotiators from nearly 200 countries signed on to a legal agreement on Saturday evening that set ambitious goals to limit temperature rises and to hold governments to account for reaching those targets.
Government and business leaders said the agreement, which set a new goal to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century, sent a powerful signal to global markets, hastening the transition away from fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy.
The deal was carefully constructed to carry legal force but without requiring approval by the US Congress – which would have almost certainly rejected it.
After last-minute delays, caused by typos, mistranslations and disagreements over a single verb in the highly complicated legal text, Laurent Fabius, brought down a special leaf-shaped gavel to adopt the agreement. The goal of 1.5C is a big leap below the 2C agreed six years ago in Copenhagen.
François Hollande, the French president, who had invested enormous capital and diplomatic effort in shepherding the agreement, said countries had a rare chance to make history. “We are at a decisive point in time,” he said.