Paris climate deal: The reaction

The momentous climate deal achieved at COP21 in Paris has been met with excitement and relief from green groups and sustainability professionals alike. But there are a few notable exceptons...

In the final text released on Saturday (12 December), more than 190 countries famously agreed to a legally-binding deal to limiot global warming to 2C.

Read the full story on the final COP21 agreement here

The final text that was agreed upon “emphasises with serious concern” the need to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C” above pre-industrial levels, and states that nations will be “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C”.

The deal also includes a five-year ratcheting mechanism on climate action, and gives mention to the key issues of ‘differentiation’ and ‘loss & damage’. 

But the text excludes a clear timescale on when fossil fuels will need to be phased out, and doesn’t drill down into emission-heavy areas such as the aviation and shipping industries.

So is this enough? Have world leaders really displayed the ambition needed to tackle global warming? Were other key points missed from the text entirely? Or should we be thankful that a deal was reached at all?

edie has picked out the best quotes and reaction from Paris in the immediate aftermath of tthis announcement…

Paris climate deal: Industry reaction

Victoria Stulgis, senior associate, Carbon War Room

“Despite calls to regulate shipping from the European Parliament, Denmark and the Marshall Islands, as well as multiple industry leaders including Maersk, it is disappointing to learn that shipping has not been included in COP21’s global climate change agreement.

“Despite the outcome at COP, it is vital that the shipping industry recognises the importance and urgency of addressing greenhouse gas emissions, to effectively contribute to the global benchmark of well below 2C.”

Bertrand van Ee, chief executive, Climate-KIC

“The deal struck in Paris today has unlocked a blue ocean of uncontested opportunities for business. The trajectory of staying “well below” two degrees warming is achievable, but achieving it requires a major shift in the global economy. That shift represents a highly lucrative economic opportunity. Already, there’s a $5.5trn market for low carbon technologies and products. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Celine Herweijer, partner, PwC sustainability & climate change

“The legally binding transparency and review framework is the cornerstone of making the Paris Agreement a credible climate deal in the eyes of the world. But there is still room for improvement.

“The Agreement delivers what’s needed on compliance to move forward under the Agreement’s new international climate regime. A global climate deal was never one that would happen today if non performance or non-compliance resulted in punishment.” Celine Herweijer, partner, PwC sustainability & climate change.”

Maria McCaffery, chief executive RenewableUK 

“We appreciate the efforts made by the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and her team in helping to secure a deal which commits the UK on the world stage to continuing its trajectory towards a sustainable and carbon-free future. This landmark agreement puts the world firmly on course to limiting dangerous climate change and Britain has proved it is willing to play its part. 

“We hope that in the months to come we can see this accord translated into the necessary policies at home to achieve these goals, with Ministers returning from the talks fired up to put their weight fully behind the development of the UK’s plentiful renewable energy resources, including wind, wave and tidal power, without the Government seeking to exclude successful and cost-effective technologies such as onshore wind from our energy mix”.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general, CBI

“The Paris deal heralds an exciting opportunity for business. We now have a climate deal agreed by the world’s leaders that puts us on a sustainable low-carbon path and which can provide the framework for business to invest with confidence.

“It will now be for governments to show how they plan to turn global ambition into national reality. Businesses will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal and none more so than in the UK.”

Sonja Meister, climate justice and energy campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe

“The list is long why the Paris deal falls short of what is needed to effectively combat climate change and protect vulnerable and poor people across the world. It is a deal in favour of polluters which lets rich countries escape their responsibility. The agreement leaves us on track for 3 degrees of warming and planetary emergency.

“But we must remember that the window is not quite closed. Thousands of climate protesters in the streets of Paris today have shown they understand climate justice, even if politicians do not. Post-Paris rich industrialised countries must learn what ‘fair share’ means, and take action to urgently phase out fossil fuels.”

Michael Grubb, Professor of International Energy and Climate Change Policy, UCL 

“With this agreement, the rich world has got the universal participation it has sought for 15 years. It may also herald a revolution in international governance. The west must now keep its side of the bargain by delivering steeper emission reductions and the finance agreed.”

Bill McKibben, co-founder,

“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.”

Claire Jakobsson, ead of climate policy, EEF

“We welcome this landmark global agreement to tackle climate change and while this development in climate action is to be applauded, it is only the beginning of what is necessary to ensure a level playing field for UK manufacturing. Equally important, is what steps are taken next if the Paris conference is to be judged a lasting success.”

Paul Polman, chief executive, Unilever

“The world demanded climate action and the international community has responded. Today’s agreement demonstrates without question that it is possible for us to come together in common cause to address the greatest challenges we face, preventing tragedy for the many millions of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change and securing the economic prosperity of the world in the 21st century.”

Matthew Spencer, director, Green Alliance

“For once it  is right to call this deal historic. It is a global agreement to create a one way street to net zero carbon emissions, and it will have a profound influence on the evolution of the earth’s economy. It will accelerate the rapid technological change we have already begun to see in our energy system and in the development of the next generation of buildings, cars and household appliances.

“It challenges the widespread scepticism that politics can ever deliver a better world, because it just did. 

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group

“Businesses have been very vocal throughout the summit about the need for a strong climate deal. They are fully aware of both the high costs of inaction on their bottom lines but also the huge opportunities on offer in the transition to a low carbon economy. 

“Businesses want to be at the forefront of tackling climate change, develop much needed low carbon infrastructure, continue to reduce the cost of new technologies and create new jobs.”

Michael Rea, chief operating officer, the Carbon Trust

“This is an exciting moment in history. The debate is over and the vision of the future is low carbon. The agreement coming out of Paris today contains a clear statement of international ambition which will give businesses, investors and cities the certainty they need to accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and build a sustainable future. We know that it is possible. We know that it can be profitable. Now is the time for a step change in our levels of effort and action.”

Richard Lowe, UK director of power and industrial consents, AECOM

“The final outcome provides a welcome incentive for global governments to pursue the low-carbon agenda. The challenge now is for the outcome of the talks to cascade into specific actions by individual countries. For the UK, it is an opportunity to reinvigorate low-carbon approaches before nuclear new-build comes on stream. The UK must plug the energy gap that will be created between nuclear new-build coming online and the proposed decommissioning of coal-fired power stations by 2025.”

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie