The Paris Agreement - COP 21

On 12 December 2015 the new global agreement on climate change was adopted in Le Bourget, at the outskirts of Paris.

The Agreement represents a turning point in the history of climate protection: For the first time ever almost all countries of the world commit themselves in an agreement to making efforts to fight climate change. Federal Minister Rupprechter called it a “historic agreement on a historic day”.

The situation at the start of the negotiations was difficult; the views of developed countries, threshold countries and less developed countries differed widely. Even Ban Ki Moon said those negotiations had been the most difficult and complicated ones he had ever been involved in. Thanks to the excellent diplomatic skills of the French COP 21 Presidency and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius all the hurdles and difficulties were overcome. On December 12, shortly after 7:30 p.m., the time had finally come: The Paris Agreement was adopted under the thunderous applause of thousands of delegates.

The EU played a crucial role in the negotiations. By establishing the “High Ambition Coalition” it acted as a  bridge builder between extreme positions of other negotiating groups.

Objectives

The objectives of the Agreement are to mitigate global warming and to provide support to developing countries. The Agreement is the first climate protection agreement in which all countries agree to make so-called “intended nationally determined contributions” to the fight against global warming. The increase in the global average temperature is to be held to clearly below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, where possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Phasing out fossil fuels

Also the objective of phasing out fossil fuels is beyond dispute. “The end of the fossil fuel age has been heralded and the decarbonisation of our society, of our energy regimes and mobility systems has started”, Federal Minister Rupprechter emphasises.  As early as in 2030 100 percent of our electricity should come from renewables.

The negotiations showed that “where it acts as one, the EU can achieve great things. Unity makes us strong, we saw that in Paris”. Under the Luxembourg Presidency and with the committed efforts on the part of EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete the EU-28 negotiated well and “displayed unity and consistency to the end”. It was also thanks to the European Union that the High Ambition Coalition was formed which finally comprised over 110 countries.

published at 17.12.2015, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)