climate change

The world reacts to the Paris Agreement

The Eiffel Tower illuminated in a Le Soleil (The Sun) message. Photo credit: Mark Dixon via Flickr
As the UN agreed on the first-ever global deal on climate change, opinions and statements were many. Here we try to collect some of the ones that caught our eye:

Francois Hollande, President of France: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”

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.”

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.”

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University: “The diplomats have done their job: the Paris Agreement points the world in the right direction, and with sophistication and clarity. It does not, however, ensure implementation, which necessarily remains the domain of politicians, businessmen, scientists, engineers, and civil society.”

International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo: “The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. There’s much in the text that has been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. That single number and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states.”
Co-founder, Bill McKibben: “Every government seems now to recognize that the fossil fuel era must end and soon. But the power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now, activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry. This didn’t save the planet, but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.”

The Sierra Club
Michael Brune, executive director: “Decisive leadership and action from President Obama and other world leaders, an increasingly powerful climate movement, and strong progress in the U.S. and globally to move off coal cleared the way for every nation to come to the table.”

Union of Concerned Scientists
Alden Meyer, Director of Policy and Strategy: “The agreement’s temperature goal, net zero emissions objective, and processes to steadily increase the ambition of national emissions reduction commitments combine to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry: after decades of deception and denial, your efforts to block action on climate change are no longer working.”

Danish pension fund PKA
CEO Peter Damgaard Jensen: “This agreement has put down important markers that provide a floor to our ambition, not a ceiling for mitigation, adaptation or climate finance.”

Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Richard Chatterton, Head of Climate Policy: “The Paris Agreement will disappoint many observers that were hoping for a step change in global ambition to emerge from COP21. It is no surprise, however, that the reality falls far short of such expectations. What Paris set out to achieve was the formalisation of a pledge-and-review type process, which will serve to place continuing pressure on the world’s biggest polluters to take greater action to curb their emissions.”

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)
Richard Black, Director: “As a result of the agreement in Paris, we now live in a world in which every country on Earth has pledged to tackle climate change by constraining its greenhouse gas emissions.It marks the fulfilment of a call made a quarter of a century ago by Margaret Thatcher who, as a professional chemist, understood the risks posed by climate change and called for an international treaty to combat it. By itself, the Paris agreement won’t keep climate change below levels that pose a threat to human societies, economies and nature, but it does put the world onto that path; so it is a truly significant moment, and 12 December 2015 is undeniably a day that will go down in human history.”

Renewable energy crowdfunding platform, Abundance Generation
Joint Managing Director, Karl Harder: “The Paris Agreement is a very significant step forward, creating foundations for the building of a zero carbon world.  We can not be complacent, however. This is just the start and there are going to be many challenges ahead to ensure the rhetoric translates into strong action from both the national government and business. Investors are already starting to act, but it’s now time for national policy to remove all barriers to the deployment of capital to renewable energy infrastructure and enable the swift transition the world is now calling for.”

The Climate Group
CEO Mark Kenber: “The announcement of the global climate deal is undoubtedly a momentous result from Paris and a watershed moment for humanity. It will enable us to unlock the trillions of dollars of investment needed to support a thriving low carbon economy. And this is only the beginning. What’s clear today is that the world has changed: a low carbon future is now inevitable, irresistible and irreversible.”

Related news:

Editorial: We must see Paris as the beginning and not the end

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