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Historic climate deal in Paris: EU claims to lead global efforts

The European Union has played a key role in brokering today’s historic agreement in Paris, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The ambitious and balanced agreement, the first major multilateral deal of the 21st century, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

The deal is the culmination of years of efforts by the international community to bring about a universal multilateral agreement on climate change. Following limited participation in the Kyoto Protocol and the lack of agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, the EU has been building a broad coalition of developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference.

The Paris Agreement sends a clear signal to investors, businesses, and policy-makers that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay and resources have to shift away from polluting fossil fuels.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today the world is united in the fight against climate change. Today the world gets a lifeline, a last chance to hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies. This robust agreement will steer the world towards a global clean energy transition.

This deal is also a success for the European Union. We have long been the global leader in climate action, and the Paris Agreement now reflects our ambition worldwide. I would like to thank the EU’s chief negotiator Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his team for working day and night to make this agreement happen and for keeping the European Union the central player throughout the negotiations. I am proud of all of you.”

EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: “This agreement is a major win for Europe. But more importantly, it is a major win for the global community. Europe has led the efforts in Paris to get an ambitious and legally binding global climate deal. We have forged alliances and others have joined. Our key objectives − on the long-term goal, the 5-yearly review cycles and transparency − are in the new agreement. The agreement also reconfirms global commitment to continued support to those in need of assistance. We succeeded. Now, what has been promised must be delivered. Europe will continue to lead the global low-carbon transition we have agreed.”

The Paris climate deal
The Paris climate change agreement is a bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century. In Paris, governments agreed on ambition, commitment, and solidarity.

Ambition: Governments agreed a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. The agreement calls for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science. Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans to reduce their emissions.

The sum total of the 185 intended nationally determined contributions prepared in advance of the Paris conference are not yet enough to keep the world below 2°C by the end of the century. However, the agreement traces the way to achieving this target.

Commitment: To achieve this common ambition, governments agreed to come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science. They also accepted to report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets, to ensure transparency and oversight. A global stocktake will take place every five years. A robust transparency and accountability system will track progress towards the long-term goal.

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