The international climate deal agreed in Paris is a turning point in history which signals the end of the fossil fuel era, it has been claimed. Measures agreed in the final draft include:
Long-term emissions goal
The agreement commits countries to begin reducing global carbon emissions “as soon as possible” and to have “net zero emissions” during the second half of the century – meaning that any CO2 produced would need to be captured and disposed of or offset by planting huge numbers of trees. This is another good development which is expected to spur investment in green energy but is weakened because the timescales are vague.
The rachet mechanism
This is an essential part of the agreement and is binding. It requires countries to step up their targets to reduce carbon emissions every five years – which is crucial because the cuts they have promised so far would only limit global warming to between 2.7C and 3C.
The rich countries have promised to funnel at least $100bn (£66bn) a year into poorer countries from 2020 to help them switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and to help protect them against dangers such as increased flooding.
An undisclosed amount of money will also be made available to help pay for damage caused by global warming.
Measuring and monitoring emissions
A system has been agreed to ensure countries are meeting their emissions pledges although there are questions over how effectively this will be able to establish whether some developing nations, such as China, are doing what they say they are doing.