Tuesday, 15 December 2015

COP21: The outcome

COP21 has finally ended. After two weeks of global negotiations between nearly 200 nations, a final agreement has been finalised and signed. This may sound all well and good, but how effective was COP21? and where do we need to improve?

So, the aim of COP21 was to reduce global emissions to a safe and manageable level, in order that the mean global temperature doesn't exceed a 2 degrees centigrade increase by the end of the century. I have some bad and good news for you. If the nations abide by their promises, the predicted global increase in temperature will decrease by only 0.9 degrees centigrade to 2.7 degrees centigrade. This can be seen as a monumental step towards the right direction, and is crucially a historic step to dealing with an issue which could have been much worse.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Hollande (Image: Reuters)
Celebrations between UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and French President Hollande after the deal was made. Source: BBC News

Some countries who attended COP21 debated that a stricter target should be in place of 1.5 degrees centigrade, however, to what extent this is achievable is questionable as we have already reached the 1 degree increase boundary.

From what it seems, politicians appear to be extremely happy with the agreement with Obama stating " Together, we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one”, "What matters is today we can be confident that this planet will be in better shape for the next generation and that is what I care about". However, this is not in agreement with environmentalist such as the WWF who believe action should be taken quicker.

But how much of the agreement is binding? And how much funding is proposed to be raised?

Now the agreement is not what people first though it would be. Unfortunately, it is not all legally binding. Nick Dearden, director of campaign group Global Justice Now boldly stated that "Nothing is binding". In my opinion, he's not far wrong. The targets set by the nations are not binding under COP21 but submitting an emissions reduction target and regular reviews of that goal will be binding. Observers of COP21 said that what happened this year was one of the reasons why Copenhagen failed in 2009.

However, I believe that the media presence and with the global eye on COP21, this agreement has shown solidarity between nations to overcome an issue which is ultimately effecting us all.

In part II, I will go into detail about the money raised and where it will go, and fundamentally, how will it help in slowing the melting world?

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