Some 195 nations agreed on a climate deal at COP21. Together they will attempt to limit the global temperature rise to a level ‘well below’ 2°C, albeit on a voluntary basis rather than under the pressure of binding targets.
Two weeks of intense negotiations couldn’t completely break the political and economic barriers that have been hampering climate talks for over 15 years. A deal has been reached, but its actual meaning is subject to interpretation.
On one hand, getting 195 countries to agree on the principle of slowing down global warming certainly is a great success. It wasn’t until the very end of the conference that opinions finally converged, and previous attempts had shown that the possibility of attendees going home empty-handed was not to be ruled out.
Then again it is difficult not to question the value of a deal with no binding targets, especially when such targets were presented as the sine qua non condition to tackling climate change before COP21 talks kicked off.
Some scientists say that there’s no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will continue to be burned.
Other scientists went as far as saying that ‘For the global poor, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, the current text is somewhere between dangerous and deadly.’
But this vision is not shared by all of their peers. Others said the inclusion of the 1.5 degrees Celsius target in the agreement was a surprising victory for the planet.
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