Terming the conference historic and a major initiative to save planet Earth, world leaders have welcomed the climate deal to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing it as a victory of “climate justice”; the pact evoked mixed reactions from environmentalists.
“This agreement represents the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet we’ve got. I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” US President Barack Obama said, in an address to the nation, from the White House.
“As a result of the climate agreement we can be more confident the Earth will be in better shape,” he said.
In Delhi, Modi tweeted, “Outcome of #ParisAgreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won & we are all working towards a greener future.”
Commenting on the legally-binding pact which seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, and makes developed nations commit USD 100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries, he said, “#ClimateChange remains a challenge but #ParisAgreement demonstrates how every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution.”
“Deliberations at #COP21 & #ParisAgreement demonstrates the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate climate change,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande, termed the day as a great date for the planet. “In Paris, there have been many revolutions over the centuries. It is the most beautiful and the most peaceful revolution that has just been accomplished,” he said, after the landmark deal was inked by 195 nations.
The international deal on limiting climate change represents “a huge step forward in securing the future of the planet”, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
Reacting to the deal, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said, the accord also supported developing country’s right to development and their efforts to harmonise development with environment, while protecting the interests of the most vulnerable.
“Today is a historic day. What we have adopted is not only an agreement but a new ‘chapter of hope’ in the lives of 7 billion people. Mahatma Gandhiji used to say that ‘we have not inherited earth from our ancestors, but we have it on loan from future generations,” he said.
However, there was a contrary view to the deal, as the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that, the climate change agreement is “weak and unambitious” as it does not include any “meaningful” targets and has discharged developed nations from their historical responsibility.
“Developing countries have got words and promise of money while the developed countries have finally got rid of their historical responsibility of causing climate change. They have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts,” CSE director general Sunita Narain said.
“The phrase ‘historical responsibility’ has been erased from the agreement and this weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to there past emissions,” Narain said.
“Without historical responsibility, equity will now be interpreted only through the words ‘respective capabilities and national circumstances” further removing differentiation between the climate actions of developed and developing countries,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE.
Greenpeace International said, “It sometimes seems that the countries of the United Nations can unite on nothing, but nearly two hundred countries have come together and agreed a deal.”
“Today the human race has joined in a common cause, but it’s what happens after this conference that really matters. The Paris Agreement is only one step on long a road, and there are parts of it that frustrate and disappoint me, but it is progress. This deal alone won’t dig us out the hole we’re in, but it makes the sides less steep,” said Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo.
The Climate Group and its business and sub-national government partners from the US, Europe, China and India called today’s climate agreement “a victory for science and vision which calls time on the fossil fuel age”.