COP 21 : a new era for climate change regime

Cet article fait partie du dossier COP21 : Après notre semaine COP21 à Paris, nous vous présentons une série d’articles pour partager avec vous notre point de vue sur les évènements auxquels nous avons assisté et qui nous ont marqués – conférences, débats, expositions, manifestations, documentaires.


The United Nations Climate Change Conference was held this December in Paris, the city of lights. On 12 December 2015 after intense negotiations the participating countries agreed to a universal pact, the Paris agreement. It is the first time of a global agreement on climate change after the last twenty years of U.N negotiations and it is the first deal that commits all members to cut carbon emissions.


The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the annual meeting of the parties to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change that was established as an institution in 1992 by the same treaty. Twenty-three years later the whole world was looking forward to the deal of COP 21 in Paris. Representatives of 195 nations participated to the negotiations aimed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the threat of global warming, the major threat of the 21st century.

The marathon negotiations – a historic, durable and ambitious agreement

After marathon negotiations the representatives of the nations concluded to the Paris agreement. We cannot forget that the words play a very important role to diplomacy. For example, there is a huge difference between the words “should” and “shall”. “Shall” would lead to a legal commitment but “should” means voluntarily. Without a doubt, the differences concerning the meaning of the words were crucial for the creation of the final text. In the end of these negotiations the outcome of COP 21 is a “historic, durable and ambitious” agreement which represents a new era on climate change policy.

The deal

The deal is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2ºC and there would be an effort to limit the temperature to 1.5ºC. So the global average temperature increase does not exceed pre-industrial levels. The states are obliged to eliminate the greenhouse gaz emissions and there would be a review for this obligation every five years. The agreement includes common responsibilities but every state will apply them differently in the light of different national circumstances. Another important point of this agreement is the commitment of $100 billion fund from developed countries to developing nations in order to help them in their fight against climate change and to decarbonise their energetic mix. This global deal is the successor of Kyoto-Protocol and marks a new hopeful post-Kyoto regime. The agreement will come into force in 2017 .

Such as Kumi Naidoo executive director of Greenpeace international said: “the Paris agreement is only one step on a long road but it is progress. The deal alone won’t dig us out of the hole that we’re in, but it makes the side less sleep.”


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