Paris Agreement adopted. Photo credit WRI
Today marks an historic turning point in global action on climate change. At the UN Climate Conference in Paris, known as COP21, 196 countries joined together in the Paris Agreement, a universal pact that sets the world on a course to a zero-carbon, resilient, prosperous and fair future. While the Agreement is not enough by itself to solve the problem, it places us clearly on the path to a truly global solution.
Building on the foundation of national climate plans from 187 countries, the Paris Agreement is a reflection of the remarkable momentum from cities, companies, civil society groups and others that complement the global will to act that has grown over the years since the first international conference on climate change in 1992.
The Paris Agreement will maintain and accelerate that momentum. It offers clear direction with:
- long-term goals and signals,
- a commitment to return regularly to make climate action stronger,
- a response to the impact of extreme climate events on the most vulnerable,
- the transparency needed to ensure action takes place and
- finance, capacity building and technology to enable real change.
But the Agreement does even more: it marks a new type of international cooperation where developed and developing countries are united in a common framework, and all are involved, engaged contributors. It reflects the growing recognition that climate action offers tremendous opportunities and benefits, and that climate impacts can be tackled effectively, with the unity of purpose that has brought us to this moment.