Hours earlier he had asked the Parties to adopt the Final Draft Agreement. Quoting Nelson Mandela he said: “'It always seems impossible. Until it’s done’. None of us acting alone can be successful. The world is holding its breath. It counts on all of us.”
After the adoption of the Agreement the floor was given to the representative of South Africa speaking for the G77 and China. She said: “The text we have before us is not perfect […] but it is balanced and the best that we can get at this historic moment.”
She then too shared a quote from Mandela, her former President:
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.
In the article Draft Paris Agreement: 1.5 °C, Long-Term Goal and Loss & Damage I take a closer look at the final text and the reaction of civil society to the final outcome. One of those civil society representatives, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace, said the Paris Agreement is the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.
Especially the push against coal is unprecedented with coal divestment announcements following each other in rapid succession. Tseard Zoethout examines the viability of MPP3, a state-of-the-art coal-fired biomass power station with CCS, in the post-Paris era.
COP21 was also the stage for non-state stakeholders such as businesses, mayors and NGOs to announce their actions to fight climate change. At the final tally over 10,000 commitments were made. These commitments have definitely contributed to the tangible optimism surrounding the two-week climate conference.
During the last stages of the negotiations on Thursday Minister Fabius said to the gathered delegates: “We have all been aware of the fact that compromise does require us to forget the ideal solution for everybody so that we can attain what is desirable for everybody.” Should the adopted Paris Agreement not be your ideal outcome and leave you with a sense of disappointment, go browse the thousands of commitments listed on the UN website, to regain that sense of optimism.
Welcome to the post-Paris era. The world of energy will only get more interesting from here on.