Key Elements of the Final Agreement + GCCM and Civil Society Quotes

December 12, 2015

Key elements of the final agreement include the following:

  • The goal of holding global average temperatures to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts” to limit temperature increases to 1.5C.
  • A non-binding decision for countries to review their national targets in 2020 and then every five years with a view to increasing their greenhouse gas cuts, and to hold regular global stocktakes of progress towards the collective temperature goal.
  • A recognition that the $100bn a year in climate finance promised by 2020 should be a floor for ongoing assistance, and that the provision of finance should be regularly reviewed along with the national greenhouse gas reduction targets, with a new goal financing goal to be agreed by 2025
  • A recognition that many countries will suffer losses and damage from the effects of climate change, but which specifically excludes any liability or compensation claims as a result of the agreement.

Tomas Insua, Founder, Global Catholic Climate Movement “This agreement represents the end of the fossil fuel era, as the Catholic Church has been advocating. The 1.5C target and the goal of net zero emissions enshrines the moral imperative to leave fossil fuels in the ground. This is a meaningful step forward on the path to protecting the poor and most vulnerable from climate change. We are still disappointed with the failure to address some key issues such as climate finance for developing countries and the language about human rights, but we recognize that Paris is a turning point in the conversation on solutions to the ecological crisis that Pope Francis called for in his Encyclical.”  Marie Venner, [email protected] 

Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Advisor, Christian Aid: 
“For the first time in history, the whole world has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change. Although different countries will move at different speeds, the transition to a low carbon world is now inevitable. Governments, investors and businesses must ride this wave or be swept away by it. Negotiations were long and hard fought but the result is an agreement which will usher in a new dawn of climate-aware politics. The era of politicians burying their heads in the sand is over.”  Joe Ware, [email protected]

Samantha Smith, Leader of the Global Climate and Energy Initiative, WWF 
“Governments have critically agreed to keep warming well below 2C and aim to limit temperature increase to 1.5C. Everything they do from now on must be measured against that goal. And most importantly, they still need to actually deliver on that goal going forward, which must include assistance for the poor and vulnerable who will suffer from the immediate impacts of climate change. Those impacts are only getting worse and our ambition and actions must urgently match the scale of this global threat and be in line with science. Our leaders must make their actions stronger and stronger over time, in terms of mitigation, adaptation and finance. This is vital.”  Mandy Woods, [email protected]

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International
The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history.” Tina Loeffelbein, [email protected]

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
“The Paris agreement is a turning point for humanity. For the first time in history, the global community agreed to action that sets the foundation to help prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis while embracing the opportunity to exponentially grow our clean energy economy.  Decisive leadership and action from President Obama and other world leaders, an increasingly powerful climate movement, and strong progress in the U.S. and globally to move off coal cleared the way for every nation to come to the table.”
Maggie Kao, [email protected]+1 9193600308

Alden Meyer, Director of Policy and Strategy, Union of Concerned Scientists
“The agreement’s temperature goal, net zero emissions objective, and processes to steadily increase the ambition of national emissions reduction commitments combine to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry: after decades of deception and denial, your efforts to block action on climate change are no longer working. Growing public concern about climate impacts, and the availability of cost-effective efficiency and renewable energy solutions are giving leaders the political will to stand up to fossil fuel polluters and put us on a path to create the global clean energy economy needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.” Ashley Siefert, [email protected]+1 (952) 239-0199

Emma Ruby-Sachs, Acting Executive Director, Avaaz
“If agreed, this deal will represent a turning point in history, paving the way for the shift to 100% clean energy that the world wants and the planet needs. By marching in the streets, calling leaders and signing petitions, people everywhere created this moment, and now people everywhere will deliver on it to secure the future of humanity.” Bert Wander, [email protected]

Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International  “Climate change is already causing devastating impacts for poor people around the world. Developed countries politicised the issue of loss and damage in the Paris talks, trying to limit options for poor countries to deal with climate  threats. With the Paris Agreement, all countries promise not to leave the poor behind. Developed countries leave Paris with an even higher moral obligation to scale up support for the most vulnerable people and to cut their emissions more rapidly.”
Viivi Erkkila, [email protected]

Bill McKibben, Co-Founder, 350.org 
“Every government seems now to recognize that the fossil fuel era must end and soon. But the power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now, activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry.”
Jamie Henn, [email protected]

Helen Szoke, Executive Director, Oxfam
“This deal offers a frayed life-line to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Only the vague promise of a new future climate funding target has been made, while the deal does not force countries to cut emissions fast enough to forestall a climate change catastrophe. This will only ramp up adaptation costs further in the future. Governments across the world have now come together in the global fight against climate change but must play catch up. We will be holding them to account with the millions of people who marched in cities all around the world so that dangerous warming is averted and the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities get the support that they need.”
Simon Hernandez-Arthur, [email protected] 

Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid 
“What we needed out of Paris was a deal which put the world’s poorest people first – those who are living with the constant threat of the next disaster. Yet what we have been presented with doesn’t go far enough to improve the fragile existence of millions around the world. Despite disappointment, the Paris agreement provides an important hook on which people can hang their demands. As climate change continues to worsen and affect millions more, people are beginning to demand more from their governments and ask for the transformative change to secure homes, jobs and futures.  We already have the practical solutions to climate change, we now just need them to be scaled up with adequate support. Paris is only the beginning of the journey.”
Cora Bauer, [email protected]

Paul Cook, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
“We welcome the agreement brokered at these crucial climate talks. This is a good step forward, but let’s not be complacent. This doesn’t give us everything we need – nations will need to go further in reducing their emissions over the next few years to ensure the global temperature does not rise by more than 1.5 degrees to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. What has been exciting is to see the growing movement these talks have fostered – people from all walks of life, including the church, have raised their voices for climate action here in Paris.  We will not stop this momentum, but continue to hold governments to account, to help people across the world who are seeing the devastating daily impact of climate change.”
Madeleine Gordon, [email protected]

Krishneil Narayan, Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network
“Rapid action to address climate change is a matter of survival for my Pacific people and as such, how can we accept any compromises? That is why the Pacific region always puts forward the most ambitious proposals on the table at the negotiations. The Paris Agreement did not reflect all we asked for in the Suva Declaration on Climate Change, but Paris was never meant to be the last step. It was meant to be a progressive step in identifying new common grounds to address climate change together collectively through a new, universal agreement. The Pacific will continue be climate leaders post-COP21, and keep going strong to survive climate impacts and show leadership to the world. In the words of my Pacific community: ‘We shall overcome someday.’”
Ria Voorhaar, [email protected]

Happy Khambule, Coordinator, South African Climate Action Network
“This historic agreement has sent a strong signal that we need to move away from fossil fuels and that we have a global need to act on climate now. In South Africa, we will follow up this international agreement with actions here at home to take climate action even further. We will be working hard to push South Africa to transition to a low-carbon economy, and call on our leaders to reform fossil fuel subsidies and build more accessible renewable energy.”
Ria Voorhaar, [email protected]

David Tong, Coordinator, New Zealand Climate Action Network
“The Paris Agreement is an important step forward. Countries worldwide are acting on climate change. This agreement marks the end of the fossil fuel era and the dawn of the renewable energy era. The momentum towards 100% renewable energy future is unstoppable. Although more must be done in the coming years, the Paris negotiations show that the New Zealand government is out of step with the world. New Zealand has chosen to take the opposite side of the table from its Pacific neighbours, resisting their call for a 1.5ºC goal, blocking progress on loss and damage, and turning deaf ears to their calls for increased climate finance. And the New Zealand government has also proven that it is out of step with the people of New Zealand. As proven by the People’s Climate Marches worldwide, New Zealanders are leading the transition to a safe, just climate future. It’s time for New Zealand politicians to get with the program.”
David Tong, [email protected]

Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia
“The Paris agreement has clear signals to countries across the globe to now take deeper actions domestically to keep temperature rise to 1.5 Deg C.  It also creates the momentum for countries like India to further scale up their already ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. Now the onus is on developed countries to fulfill their promises and scale up climate finance flows to support mitigation and adaptation efforts , especially for the most vulnerable countries.”
Sanjay Vashist, [email protected]

Tania Guillen, Coordinator, Climate Action Network Latin America 
“The Paris Agreement has made some steps forward in order to face the climate crisis, but we know that more action is needed and citizens have to be considered in deciding and taking actions. It is important to see that there were clear signals about limiting the increase of temperature to 1.5C compared with pre-industrial levels. In Latin America, and special in the Central America and Caribbean region, climate change is happening. For our region, climate change is not only about future, models or scenarios, it is about our reality. The current reality that farmers and ecosystems, for example, are living. We need to know that what is agreed here in Paris, will guide strong actions to prevent climate change, but also to improve the climate resilience and to prevent the climate-induced losses and damages of those most vulnerable communities. Paris has given us a momentum, but we are clear that is not the end.”
Tania Guillen, [email protected]

Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network Europe
“All countries have agreed upon the pathway to phase out all fossil fuels, but failed to make headway towards this common goal. This is why the hard work needs to continue after the summit. The EU now needs to live up to the Paris agreement and recalibrate the climate targets for 2030 during the next European Council in March. It also needs to cut emissions much more drastically starting now. In particular, we expect the European Council to raise the 2030 emission reduction target well beyond 40%, to improve the renewables and energy efficiency targets and to tackle fossil fuel subsidies.”
Ania Drazkiewicz, [email protected]

David Turnbull, Campaigns Director, Oil Change International
“The Paris climate talks present a lowest common denominator of global politics, not the aspirations of the global community. It’s the people on the streets who provide the real hope for addressing the climate crisis. People fighting for climate justice around the world are the ones who will solve this problem and they’re already making headway day by day. This year, with wins over the Keystone XL pipeline and Arctic drilling, the climate movement has begun to show its  true strength. It is by continuing these fights day in and day out, year in and year out, through the voice of a growing global movement that cannot and will not be silenced, that change will happen.”
David Turnbull, [email protected]

Tim Flannery, Chief Councillor, Climate Council.
“Today, all of the countries in the world have agreed to act together to address the threat posed to humanity from climate change. This agreement signals the end of the fossil fuel era as the world rapidly replaces coal, oil and gas with clean energy sources. All countries, big and small, rich and poor, have acknowledged they have to act, and almost all are already doing so. This is an important and deliberate signal to businesses worldwide that there is a enormous transition underway and there will be great opportunities for innovation.”
Amanda McKenzie, [email protected], +33 6 44 22 20 66.

Jaden Harris, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
“This historic moment gives young people hope that a safe climate future is still within reach and the era of fossil fuels is ending. But we’re still on track for a 3-degree warmer world, which paints a bleak future for vulnerable communities. We now have a structure to increase ambition to stay below 1.5, and young people will lead the call to use it. Our movement for climate justice is beginning to win because we’re right and we’ve worked hard. Young people at the forefront of this movement will now be scaling up our actions, ensuring nice words in Paris are matched with real progress around the world.”
Jaden Harris, [email protected]

“The Paris accord is a trade agreement, nothing more. It promises to privatize, commodify and sell forested lands as carbon offsets in fraudulent schemes such as REDD+ projects. These offset schemes provide a financial laundering mechanism for developed countries to launder their carbon pollution on the backs of the global south. Case-in-point, the United States’ climate change plan includes 250 million megatons to be absorbed by oceans and forest offset markets. Essentially, those responsible for the climate crisis not only get to buy their way out of compliance but they also get to profit from it as well.” – Alberto Saldamando, Human Rights Expert & Attorney. [1]

Paris, France – At 8am, Indigenous Peoples block took to the streets of Paris for an Indigenous Rights action to start the closing day of COP 21, hours before the final agreement was to be presented and a huge mobilization of civil society for a D12 march was to begin.

Representatives from Indigenous nations of Circumpolar, Amazon, South Pacific and North America joined for an early morning sunrise ceremony prayer at the foot of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral, to close the climate negotiations. The ceremony was disrupted by Paris Police who came to the square and begun to remove banners.

“We, Indigenous Peoples, are the redline. We have drawn that line with our bodies against the privatisation of nature, to dirty fossil fuels and to climate change. We are the defenders of the world’s most biologically and culturally diverse regions. We will protect our sacred lands. Our knowledge has much of the solutions to climate change that humanity seeks. It’s only when they listen to our message that ecosystems of the world will be renewed”Tom Goldtooth Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network

The morning prayer circle was moved down the street to the infamous Pont des Arts, also known across the world as the ‘Love Lock Bridge’ where Indigenous Peoples staged a direct action. Their collective message was clear – “People discuss ‘red lines’, we are the red line. We are the keepers of the land, protectors of animals, the seas, the air. We are the solution.”

“Our planet is hotter. The seas are rising. Our communities are facing reality that we may have to move, we have winter wildfires happening in the Arctic. We are out of time. Any solutions that do not talk about cutting emissions at the source, or keeping fossil fuels in the ground, are false solutions. We don’t have time to talk about carbon markets, carbon trading, REDD+ projects. We must act now [3]. ”Dallas Goldtooth, Dakota/Dine, Campaigner with Indigenous Environmental Network.  

“The seas are rising, our communities have nowhere else to go”Sina Brown-Davis, Maori activist

At noon, Indigenous peoples joined in solidarity with the global D12 REDLINE action at Arc de Triomphe. At the front of action, Indigenous Peoples held a conference condemning the failed leadership of nation states for their exclusion of Indigenous rights and human rights in the operational text of the Paris agreement .

“Here at the COP21 they are proposing false solutions to the climate crisis, they are proposing a commodification of the sacred, they want to put a price on the air we breathe. They want to go into other countries, displace our Indigenous brothers and sisters, so that they in the US can continue killing our people. We are the frontlines, we are the red lines”Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, North Dakota) speaking at the march.

During the march, a traditional Ponca cradleboard was presented to the people of Paris. The cradleboard represents future generations and was carried by Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Oklahoma, USA) who spoke at the march – “We come here with a present for Paris, we know what happened on November 13. We Indigenous people know how that feels to have someone kill the innocent ones. We offer this symbol in memory of lives lost, and we thank-you for hosting us on this sacred day.”