At 7:16 p.m., French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius abruptly returned to the stage, flanked by senior UN officials. The last-minute compromises have been resolved, he said. And all of a sudden, they were all standing. Fabius dropped the green gift, a symbol of the UN talks, and announced that a Paris agreement had been signed. Delegates applauded, clapped and whistled wildly, kissed and cried. Even the economist Lord Stern, usually reluctant, gasped. There was also the absurd informal « informal » in which a small group of delegates from different countries was tasked with addressing a small part of the controversial text, which was often as little as a paragraph at the time. Their task was to remove the so-called « square staples » that refer to areas of disagreement over the text, and they met in small nurseries around the conference center, crouching on the floor in corridors or standing around a smartphone. InDCs become CNDs – nationally determined contributions – as soon as a country formally adheres to the agreement. There are no specific requirements as to how or how many countries should reduce emissions, but there were political expectations about the nature and rigour of the targets set by different countries.
As a result, the scale and ambition of national plans vary widely, largely reflecting each country`s capacity, level of development and contribution to emissions over time. China, for example, has committed to cleaning up its CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest and reducing CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60-65% by 2030 from 2005 levels. India has set a target of reducing emissions intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030 and producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels. Like any international compromise, it is not perfect: the emission limits are still too loose, which will probably cause a warming of 2.7 to 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, exceeding the threshold of 2C, which scientists say is the limit of safety from which the effects – droughts, floods, heat waves and sea level rise – are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. Poor countries are also concerned that the means available to them will not be enough to protect them. Not all agreements are legally binding, so future governments of the signatory countries could still renounce their obligations. The Paris Agreement, marked by the historic agreement once adopted, owes its success not only to the return of a framework favourable to climate change and sustainable development, but also to efforts to review the management of international climate negotiations. The Paris Agreement is supported by new initiatives that will all be adapted to the difficulties identified at the previous COP. This innovative approach is based on four elements: the adoption of a universal agreement.
Define each state`s national contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the text of the agreement does not mention the content of these contributions, it obliges signatory states to establish a contribution plan, implement it and raise amounts every five years. Civil society`s participation in the negotiation process through the action programme adopted in November 2016, which brings together civil society initiatives from 180 countries.