Brodie Brodie, December 12, 2015

Climate negotiators strike deal to slow global warming
With the tap of a gavel and thunderous applause, 195 nations and the European Union adopted a new climate change plan, one with the ambitious goals of slowing global warming by reducing greenhouse gases and aiding poor countries adjusting to the negative impact.

Janos Pasztor, the U.N. assistant secretary-general on climate change, told CBS News that the message of the plan is to “send a strong signal to the markets, the private sector that this is the direction we are going, to a low-carbon, low-emissions world, so investing in new technology is the way to go.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that 186 countries, representing close to 100 percent of global carbon emissions, had submitted their national climate plans.

“I have absolute confidence in the ability of capital to move where the signal of the marketplace says ‘go’ after Paris,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said to the “Earth to Paris” summit earlier in the week.

“The agreement requires the world to wean itself off of fossil fuels by the middle of the century,” said Alden Meyer, the director of strategy and policy of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The final agreement reads, “the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year [in financing to developing countries].”

Key Points of the Paris Agreement

    • It calls for “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C [3.6º Fahrenheit] above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”
    • Countries should “reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter.”
    • Countries will negotiate every five years to ratchet up the stringency of their existing polices. When countries update their commitments, they will commit to the “highest possible ambition.”
    • Countries will “stocktake” every five years, to present an accounting of how they are reducing their emissions compared with the targets they had presented.
    • Countries will monitor, verify and publicly report their levels of emissions, using the same system.
    • Some elements of the accord are voluntary, while others are legally binding.

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