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Opinion on COP21 Event: Welcome to a New World of 'Paris' Climate Action. December 12, 2015
by Gunnar Boye Olesen, INFORSE
The article explains why the Paris Agreement is an important step forward, even though it is not perfect.
The articles also outlines some of the main missing elements to limit climate change to 1.5-2'C.

Having followed the climate negotiations, including the four years of tedious discussions leading up to COP21, it is very welcome that the countries on the early evening of Saturday, December 12, 2015 agreed to a Paris-agreement and a series of accompanying decisions of the COP21.

While the Paris-agreement galvanizes the principle of ' nationally determined contributions' (NDCs) as the national climate action commitments, it also introduces regular reviews of efforts to limit global warming to 'well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C'. While the current INDC's lead to some 3°C global warming, the first review, agreed with a COP decision, will be already in 2018.

The 2018 review of the climate action is our best chance to limit global warming to tolerable levels, but if that is going to happen, we have to be very fast campaigning for stronger actions around the world. We also need to show how the countries can strengthen their emission reduction plans and benefitting from it. This is now possible with the cheaper and cheaper renewable energy and energy efficiency, with protection of forests, not only for the global climate, but also for a sustainable national development, and similar actions.

The Paris agreement includes most of the important climate issues:

- Financing shall be increased to 100 billion $ from developed countries from 2020 as a floor. The Green Climate Fund is expected to channel a part of the funds, but also bilateral funding, private funding and others will be part of the 100 billion $. Loss and damage is included in the Paris agreement though with a weak paragraph.

- The climate technology mechanism (currently with the technology executive committee and the Climate Technology Center and Network) has now a basis in the Paris-agreement and have increased scope. It shall now, in addition to technology transfer and technology needs assessment, also promote innovation, research, development, and demonstration of climate technologies, and enhance the endogenous of developing countries for all this. Further it shall work on national technology strategies and project development, and assess which technologies that are ready for transfer. Finally it shall work for enhancement of enabling environments for, and address barriers to, the development and transfer of socially and environmentally sound technologies.

- Also capacity building of countries in climate mitigation and adaptation will now have an institutional basis with the Paris agreement and a Paris-committee on capacity building will be formed.

- The Paris agreement recognizes the need for sustainable development, the rights of women and indigenous people, and human rights in general, but these concerns are generally mentioned in the preamble of the agreement, not in the articles, where they are most relevant.

Some issues are also missing from the agreement, including regulation of international aviation and navigation. These sectors can continue to pollute unregulated.

All in all, the Paris Agreement is an important step forward, even though it is not perfect. It is a good beginning, but there is still a long way ahead until we have limited man-made climate change to levels we would like our children to live with.

Read the entire agreement at

Read on INFORSE's involvement at the UNFCCC COP21:

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