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Climate deal makes history

On 12 December in Paris, 195 countries agreed a new global deal to tackle climate change. The agreement followed years of campaigning by groups including All We Can, working as part of the Climate Coalition. The Coalition hailed the deal as: “a rare and genuinely historic step forwards in tackling climate change together around the world.”

The agreement includes commitments to:

  • Keep average global temperature rises below 2°C, and aim to limit them to 1.5°C – the maximum currently thought to be advisable to avoid climate change having irreversible and catastrophic consequences.
  • Reduce net carbon emissions to zero by between 2050 and 2100.
  • Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years – as current commitments are calculated to still mean a temperature rise of 2.7°C.
  • For richer countries to provide financing to help poorer nations adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy, of $100bn a year by 2020.

Welcoming the agreement, All We Can’s Deputy Chief Executive Simeon Mitchell said, “At Paris, world leaders heard our call for urgent action to tackle climate change, which is good news for those poor communities who are already suffering from its effects. Thanks are due to everyone who wrote to politicians, showed their support at events, prayed for change, and make their own commitments to reduce carbon emissions. While no international agreement is perfect, this deal represents a major success, and it creates opportunities to set more ambitious targets in the future. The challenge now is to ensure these opportunities are taken and the pledges made at Paris are honoured.”

Alexis Nikiza, Director of APRN, one of All We Can’s partner organisations in Burundi which is focused on protecting natural resources while tackling poverty, added, “The Paris agreement is a historic moment in the fight against global warming. It shows that the whole world has mobilised in response to this vital issue for humanity. The agreement is in itself a good thing and it gives hope for a better future. However, its implementation will need everyone’s continued attention.”

“One of the most important principles of the agreement is that of ‘climate justice with differentiation of responsibilities’. Developed countries, which are primarily responsible for global warming, must honour their commitments to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, and contribute to the Climate Fund. The main beneficiaries of this fund should be developing countries, which for the most part are not the authors of climate change but are suffering from its effects.”

The Methodist Church has also released a statement on the outcome of the summit.

Picture above: APRN trains people living on the edge of Ruvubo National Park in Burundi to make fuel efficient stoves which require less firewood, bringing benefits for health, economic activity, and the environment.

About the Author Laura Cook

Laura works for All We Can as the Communications Manager. She is also an internationally acclaimed photographer with a passion for women's rights. She is studying MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies in her spare time and lives with her husband Stephen in Essex.

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