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Paris Agreement Adopted, Conclusion of COP21 Marks the Beginning of Concerted Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change

After years of intensive negotiations for a new, universal binding agreement on climate change, 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change adopted the “Paris Agreement” on December 12, 2015 at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21). The conclusion of the two-week UN climate negotiations in Paris marks the start of the important work ahead of governments and private sectors to tackle the threat of global climate change.

“The Paris negotiations resulted in a historic agreement, which for the first time, aligns governments and sets forth a pathway toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” said His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change. “The UAE has been at the forefront of the negotiations and have worked closely with the French COP21 Presidency and regional partners for the successful outcome of the Paris conference.”

The objective of the Agreement is to keep the global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with an aim of 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. It requires all countries to submit nationally determined contributions containing existing and planned climate action every five years from 2020, reflecting different national circumstances, as well as take stock of progress every five years starting 2023.

Countries also agreed to reinforce the existing commitment of developed countries to mobilize financial support to developing countries, with the provision of $100 billion per annum by 2020 target to be revisited in 2025. Furthermore, the Agreement contains provisions for technology transfer and capacity building that are critical for developing countries to transition to low-carbon economy and increase resilience to climate change.

“Now the real work begins, as public and private sectors must drive forward commercial solutions that accelerate renewable energy, energy-efficiency technologies and innovations that promote sustainability,” said His Excellency Dr Al Jaber.  “This January at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the global community will rally again to identify areas of partnership and to unite against the common challenge of global climate change.”

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, will be the first major global event following COP21, and is expected to play a pivotal role in turning the outcomes of COP21 into practical actions. 

As COP21 concludes, the Agreement will need to be ratified by all 196 countries. In 2012, the UAE was the first country to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing climate agreement that expires in 2020, when the Paris Agreement takes force.


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