The climate deal reached in Paris by 195 nations “represents the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got,” President Obama said hours after it was signed on Saturday, agencies report.
“No nation, not even one as powerful as ours, can solve this challenge alone,” Obama said of the deal. “And no country, no matter how small, can sit on the sidelines. All of us had to solve it together.”
“No agreement is perfect, including this one. We cannot be complacent. The problem’s not solved because of this accord,” he said adding “we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the landmark deal as the victory of “climate justice” and said there are no winners or losers in the outcome.
China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua said the deal was not perfect. But he added “this does not prevent us from marching historical steps forward”.
Earlier on Saturday, to rousing cheers and tears of relief, envoys from 195 nations approved Saturday an accord to stop global warming, offering hope that humanity can avert catastrophic climate change and usher in an energy revolution, AFP reports.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius ended nearly a fortnight of gruelling UN negotiations in Paris with the bang of a gavel, marking consensus among the ministers, who stood for several minutes to clap and shout their joy.
“I see the room, I see the reaction is positive, I hear no objection. The Paris climate accord is adopted,” Fabius declared.
Turning to a little green hammer with which he formally gave life to the arduously-crafted pact, he quipped: “It may be a small gavel but it can do big things.”
The pact “represents the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got,” President Obama said hours after the historic agreement was signed.
“Together we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one,” he added.
The deal, to take effect from 2020, ends decades-long rows between rich and poor nations over how to carry out what will be a multi-trillion-dollar effort to cap global warming and deal with consequences already occurring.
The accord sets a target of limiting warming of the planet to “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with the Industrial Revolution, while aiming for an even more ambitious goal of 1.5C.
To do so, the emissions of greenhouse gases will need to peak “as soon as possible”, followed by rapid reductions, the agreement states.
The world has already warmed almost 1C, which has caused major problems for many people around the world particularly in developing countries, such as more severe storms, droughts and rising seas, according to scientists.
Environment groups said the Paris agreement was a turning point in history and spelt the demise of the fossil fuel industry, pointing particularly to the significance of the 1.5C goal.
“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,” Greenpeace International chief Kumi Naidoo said. Read More