Climate Change Conference

COP21. Landmark agreement reached in Paris

The announcement has been greeted by a long applause from delegates. COP21 has led to the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

The agreement that will allow the world to keep the increase in temperature below 2°C has been reached during the COP21 summit in Paris, after 2 weeks of negotiations.


This is the first deal to propose commitments to all countries, to reduce CO2 emissions. The agreement is partly binding and partly voluntary.


Shortly before the announcement, some key blocks of nations, including the G77 group (developing countries) and other countries like China and India, showed their will to support the proposals. France’s President Francois Hollande defined the proposal as “unprecedented”, and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on negotiators to “finish the job”.


Molti delegati della Cop21 hanno esultato al momento dell'annuncio dell'accordo da parte del presidente della conferenza, il ministro degli Esteri francese Laurent Fabius © Getty Images
Delegates at COP21 greeted the announcement of the agreement by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius with excitement © Getty Images

“I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted”

Conference chairman and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”


As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding: the announcement was greeted by cheers and excitement.


Nearly 200 countries sent their representatives with the aim to reach an agreement able to bind governments to reduce CO2 emissions. These measures will be enter into force as of 2020. US President Barack Obama has been one of the first people to tweet his congratulations, describing the deal as “huge”.



The measures in the Paris Agreement

The measures in the agreement include:


  • To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
  • To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C
  • To review progress every 5 years
  • To allocate 100 billion dollars a year in “climate finance” for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.


Some aspects of the agreement are legally binding, such as submitting national reduction targets every 5 years to be reviewed. However, such targets won’t be mandatory. Indeed, the attempt to set binding limits had led the 2009 Copenhagen COP19 to fail, according to observers. The latest talks have thus overcome the impasse by creating the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Therefore, countries will outline their plans to cut CO2 emissions as of 2020.

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