From 30 November to 12 December, Paris hosted the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11). On 12 December, the parties reached a new global agreement on climate change. The agreement presents a balanced outcome with an action plan to limit global warming ‘well below’ 2°C.
Environment Minister for Luxembourg Carole Dieschbourg, holding the presidency of the Council, said:
“Today is a day to be proud. We have agreed the first-ever legally binding and universal climate agreement which puts the world on course to avoid dangerous climate change. It is a roadmap for a better, more just and sustainable world. The EU fought for this agreement to be as strong as possible. We have been a successful bridge builder throughout these negotiations. But let’s not forget that Paris is only the beginning of a long journey. Together with all the stakeholders – NGOs, the business community and every citizen -we will now have the responsibility to translate this agreement into actions.”
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, joined 150 other leaders at the opening event on 30 November 2015. The Council formally adopted a negotiating position for the conference in September this year.
The main elements of the new Paris agreement:
- long-term goal: governments agreed to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C
- contributions: before and during the Paris conference countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans to reduce their emissions
- ambition: governments agreed to communicate every 5 years their contributions to set more ambitious targets
- transparency: they also accepted to report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets, to ensure transparency and oversight
- solidarity: the EU and other developed countries will continue to provide climate finance to assist developing countries both to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts