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COP21- An ambitious and credible agreement; a roadmap for a better world

Met dank overgenomen van Luxemburgs voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2015 (EU2015LU), gepubliceerd op zaterdag 12 december 2015.

On 12 December 2015, an agreement was reached at COP21 which, from 2020, sets a new universal, legally binding action plan to limit global warming.

By way of reminder, the Kyoto Protocol set emissions targets only in respect of so-called developed countries which, at the time, were the major emitters of carbon dioxide. Today, the Kyoto Protocol covers only 12% of global emissions; the new agreement will cover all countries and emissions.

The Paris agreement is therefore the first universal and legally binding agreement. It is ambitious and credible, as well as being just and fair. The agreement achieves the best balance possible between the 196 contracting parties. It is a genuine success for the European Union which, under the Luxembourg Presidency, has shown unity and has been resolutely committed to being a facilitator both before and during the negotiations.

A number of European demands were taken into account following the outcome of the laborious yet inclusive negotiations held under the expertise of the Presidency and hosts of the Conference, France, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius.

The deal is an ambitious agreement:

  • while confirming the target of 2°C, it recognises that climate change above 1.5°C would be devastating for some regions and encourages global efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C;
  • it sets a more operational long-term objective;
  • it calls for periodic review (every five years) enabling countries to set more ambitious targets, in particular to take account of scientific and technological advances.

The deal is also a credible agreement:

  • it sets out a methodology allowing for the effective implementation of the targets set;
  • it further provides that countries shall review the progress made with the targets set every five years collectively and on a transparent manner.

Lastly, the agreement establishes genuine solidarity with the world's most vulnerable countries. It guarantees financial, technological and human resources for countries that need it to assist them with respect to their emission reduction targets and the transition to a low-carbon economy. It also provides for resources to assist the world's most vulnerable countries with respect to their climate change adaption efforts and to help them deal with the devastating effects of extreme weather events.

The Paris agreement sends a clear signal to all the parties - heads of state and Government, investors, businesses, civil society - combining vision with concrete action and resources.

Ahead of and during the climate change conference, countries committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions which cover more than 95% of global emissions and to mobilising investment in the amount of several billion.

The agreement therefore guarantees a better quality of life for everyone; it will contribute to reducing air pollution and promote the development of clean and efficient energies; it will also strengthen stability by facilitating sustainable and balanced development in all corners of the world.

"This agreement combines concrete action with solidarity and transparency. It is a credible and ambitious agreement, ensuring sustainable development. The agreement is not perfect, we were hoping for an even more ambitious agreement, but it is the result of laborious negotiations and, above all, it has been approved by all the countries. The climate change conference is the culmination of years of efforts, but it is also only the start of the process. We must build on the commitment of our citizens and the economic world to continue to strengthen our ambition and ensure that this agreement is a roadmap for a better world", declared Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg's Minister for Environment and President of the EU Environment Council.

Press release from the Ministry of the Environment

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