5 Takeaways from COP21 Climate Change Agreement in Paris

The 2015 Conference of Parties Summit Ended with a Groundbreaking Agreement between nearly 200 Nations

By Ryan Crockett, 20 December 2015

On the morning of December 12th, 2015, the future of our planet changed. For the first time, 195 countries from nearly every continent came to a global consensus on the critical issue of climate change, and pledged to do something about it. This long-term agreement will not completely solve this major crisis facing our world, but it is an actionable, practical concord that will keep nations accountable for their carbon footprint and brings worldwide attention to the issue in the aim of moving in the right direction for generations to come.

“This is truly a historic moment. For the first time, we have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial problems on earth.”

-Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General

The final agreement signed at this year’s Conference of Parties (COP21) Summit in Paris is being hailed as a “Major leap for humankind” by leadership across the globe, but what exactly does this pact mean for the future of the planet? Emergent Digital has long been an ardent supporter of purposeful companies working to enact positive measures on the issue of climate change, and would like to share five major takeaways we’ve recognized since the deal was announced.

1) The primary goal of the COP21 agreement is to keep the global mean temperature of Earth within 1.5 degrees celsius of pre-industrial levels. This was a major hope of environmental activists before the summit began, and is a more aggressive approach to fighting climate change when compared with the 2-degree goal agreed upon nearly six years prior.

2) The deal allows sovereign countries to remain autonomous in their endeavors while working towards a common aim. Independent countries will be able to have their own unique plans to reduce carbon emissions over the next few years, meeting again in 2020 to revisit the issue, discuss progress, and re-strategize for the future.

3) We found the “loss and damage” clause in the agreement to be of particular interest and quite helpful for countries that have been devastated by global carbon output. This stipulation will allow smaller, more vulnerable countries to claim fiscal compensation for losses suffered by the progression of climate change contributed to by larger nations.

4) While this deal is certainly a step in the right direction and inspires hope in all nations of our world, there is very little in the way of timescales and specific dates for putting these plans into action. There are very few specifics in the first draft of the bill, and very little may take place before the end of the decade.

5) Despite the lack of imminent timescales and detailed planning for the near future, there will be “check-ins” every five years to keep all countries accountable for their contributions to climate change, the first of which is slated to occur in 2023.

While the Conference of Parties agreement will not cure all the world’s ills and much is left to be done in order combat the overwhelming crisis of climate change, 195 different countries just took a stand in Paris. These global leaders have finally made a serious and solemn vow to make the world a better place…. for all of us.

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