Until governments undertake to keep fossil fuels in the ground, they will continue to undermine agreement they have just made
COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris. Whatever happens now, we will not be viewed kindly by succeeding generations. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA
Saturday 12 December 2015 10.53 EST Last modified on Sunday 13 December 2015 06.17 EST
By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.
Inside the narrow frame within which the talks have taken place, the draft agreement at the UN climate talks in Paris is a great success. The relief and self-congratulation with which the final text was greeted, acknowledges the failure at Copenhagen six years ago, where the negotiations ran wildly over time before collapsing. The Paris agreement is still awaiting formal adoption, but its aspirational limit of 1.5C of global warming, after the rejection of this demand for so many years, can be seen within this frame as a resounding victory. In this respect and others, the final text is stronger than most people anticipated.