(2015-12-15)The historic Paris Agreement adopted on Saturday with no objection by the 196 parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) is seen as a new chapter for humanity in tackling climate change issues after the year 2020.
The Paris Agreement runs to 32 pages with 29 articles, including objective, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building, and transparency of action and support.
On the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, the Paris Agreement aims to hold the global average temperature rise to below 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and strives to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries, the parties agreed to work to define a clear roadmap on ratcheting up climate finance to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 while also setting a new goal before 2025 on the provision of finance from the 100-billion-U.S.-dollar floor.
"We have seen unparalleled announcements of financial support for both mitigation and adaptation from a multitude of sources both before and during the COP. Under the Paris Agreement, the provision of finance from multiple sources will clearly be taken to a new level, which is of critical importance to the most vulnerable," said UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres.
Unlike the top-down approach of the Kyoto Protocol, which is a compulsory order to developed countries to cut emissions, the new Paris Agreement, the second legally binding document under the UNFCCC, adopts a bottom-up approach.
More than 180 countries, which contribute to 95 percent of the total world carbon emissions, have submitted their own intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).
Under the Paris Agreement, every country should participate in the global actions to tackle climate change issues with their own INDCs. From the year 2023, all parties are required to assess their progress in implementing their INDCs. This will allow each nation to reinforce international cooperation as a means to ensure the long-term goal of addressing climate change are met.
China's Special Representative on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua called on developed countries to abide by their promises to provide finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building to developing countries.
Xie stressed that China, as a responsible developing country, would take international obligations commensurate with its own national condition, development stage and actual capacity.
"China is willing to work together with all parties, in accordance with the principles of the UNFCCC, toward implementing the Paris Agreement and establishing a global climate governance system for win-win cooperation," Xie affirmed.
At the opening ceremony of the Paris climate summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would adopt new policy measures to improve the industrial mix, build a low-carbon system, develop green building and low-carbon transportation, and establish a nationwide carbon-emission trading market.
While showing China's resolve to address the challenge, Xi's speech also displayed the wisdom of reaching an agreement with the "win-win" mentality.
During a phone conversation with his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Monday, President Xi Jinping said China and France should work with all parties to effectively carry out the newly-adopted, historic climate accord.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the adoption of the agreement: "What was once unthinkable is now unstoppable," saying it demonstrated solidarity.
"For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience, and join in a common cause to take climate action," Ban said.
"You have concluded not just any agreement. It is an ambitious, universal and legally-binding agreement," Hollande told the ministers and negotiators from the 196 parties of the UNFCCC.
"We had been waiting for this agreement a long time, for 40 years," Hollande said.
There is no doubt that the Paris conference was a success. Not only was an historic agreement on climate change adopted, but it shows global interests and national interests are bound together, and the climate change issue requires global cooperation.