In a moment of triumph for multilateralism and collective solidarity above parochial agendas, history was made in Paris on the night of December 12 as the world united to adopt an agreement to combat climate change at the Conference of Parties (COP21). After a fortnight of hectic negotiations, the final draft of the agreement has been adopted. The negotiations extended beyond the original deadline of December 11, as there were differences among countries regarding the wording of the text.
India hails climate justice
India, which was earlier seen as a challenge, has backed the agreement, bringing the world’s advanced economies as well as emerging powers on the platform of low-carbon growth and green future. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has tirelessly campaigned for harmonious agreement, based on equity and harmony, the accord represented the victory of climate justice. “Outcome of #ParisAgreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won & we are all working towards a greener future,” the social media-savvy Indian leader tweeted. “#ClimateChange remains a challenge but #ParisAgreement demonstrates how every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution.” “Deliberations at #COP21 & #ParisAgreement demonstrates the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate climate change,” he said.
In a rare act of global solidarity, 195 nations adopted the first global pact to combat climate change to cut and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55 percent of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.
World leaders back green deal
Cheering the successful adoption of the Paris agreement, many world leaders appreciated the commitment of the world to combat climate change. “This is huge,” tweeted US President Barack Obama. “Almost every country in the world just signed on to the Paris Agreement on climate change, thanks to American leadership,” he added. “This agreement represents the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet we’ve got. I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Mr Obama said in an address to the nation from the White House. “As a result of the climate agreement we can be more confident the Earth will be in better shape,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande was ecstatic, and termed the pact as the most peaceful revolution. “In Paris, there have been many revolutions over the centuries. Today it is the most beautiful and the most peaceful revolution that has just been accomplished,” he said after the landmark deal was approved by 195 nations. British Prime Minister David Cameron joined in the chorus, saying the deal represents “a huge step forward in securing the future of the planet.”
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “One planet, one chance to get it right and we did it in Paris. We have made history together. It is an agreement of conviction. It is an agreement of solidarity with the most vulnerable. It is an agreement of long-term vision, for we have to turn this agreement into an engine of safe growth.”
The overarching aim of the Paris agreement is to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As per the agreement, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives. The agreement will also strengthen the ability of countries to deal with climate impacts and ability to recover from climate impacts.
The developing countries will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries. “Governments decided that they will work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to USD 100 billion by 2020 while also before 2025 setting a new goal on the provision of finance from the USD 100 billion floor,” according to the agreement.
India cheers differentiation principle
India reacted positively to the Paris agreement and welcomed it, saying most of its concerns were addressed and the deal was on the right track to safeguard the interests of seven billion people globally. “Today is a historic day. What we have adopted is not only an agreement but a new ‘chapter of hope’ in the lives of 7 billion people. Mahatma Gandhiji used to say that ‘we have not inherited earth from our ancestors, but we have it on loan from future generations,” said Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. “There is differentiation between developed and developing countries in all elements of the agreement,” he added.
India has been stressing on equity and climate justice apart from sustainable lifestyles to combat climate change. India wanted the developed countries to do more to combat climate change and demanded stricter accountability from developed nations for any violations. India had also wanted developed countries to contribute more to climate finance and help the developing countries combat climate change.
“The agreement has deep links with the Convention (UNFCCC) and CBDR is imbibed in it. More importantly, differentiation of developed and developing countries is mentioned across all the elements of the agreement, in mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building and transparency. That is very important,” Mr Javadekar said.
“More importantly for India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always espoused cause of sustainable lifestyle and climate justice. Both have found mention in the preamble of the text. That is an important achievement for India. These two concepts were put up very forcefully by India in the last one year,” he added.
The private sector would be looking to tap into the clean energy sector and move towards a low carbon future. In its INDCs, India had pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 33-35 percent by 2030. This was seen as an ambitious move by India.
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