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Two weeks to save the planet

World governments are striving to reach a deal to cap global warming at two degrees above pre-industrial levels at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) [Storify with the support of the Committee of the Regions].

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  1. Monday, 14 December
  2. 08:30. The final word.
  3. Saturday, 12 December.
  4. 00:00: To finish - a few last Tweets and our last story from Paris.
  5. 21:33: James Crisp wraps up our blog from Paris.
  6. World leaders today agreed a historic international agreement to fight climate change.
  7. It's a huge achievement to bring 195 nations to agree a system and pathway to cap global warming to "well below" two degrees above pre-industrial levels. More than that, they agreed to aim for 1.5 degrees.
  8. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) ran a whole day late but the draft agreement released in the afternoon was approved without objection, to the surprise of many.
  9. The gavel, signalling the agreement's approval, came down at about 7.25pm.
  10. At times it seemed like countries would not be able to get over the major sticking points of climate finance, and the different treatment of developing and developed countries.
  11. But, as many mentioned in the COP21 plenary hall at the Le Bourget conference centre, nobody thinks the agreement is perfect. Compromises were made.
  12. For example, rules covering international aviation and shipping were sacrificed in the interests of reaching a deal. The EU had promised to fight to get the major source of emission back in the pact - but were forced to admit defeat.
  13. Regular five yearly reports on nations progress to meeting their agreed targets was something that the EU was pushing for, and secured. It was described to me as a red line by an EU source, earlier in the week.
  14. EurActiv France's Aline Robert sums up the agreement best.
  15. PROS
    1 Reference to 1,5° target in final text
    2 New market based offset mechanism, the ITMO (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes)
    3 Plea to “avoid double accounting”of climate finance
    4 A whole article to specify loss and damages mechanism

    CONS
    1 $100 billion dollars finance target put back in COP decision, rather than stronger COP agreement
    2 Developing countries “should”, and not “shall” contribute to help finance for energy transition
    3 No compensation planned in loss and damage article
    4 No reference to “carbon price” or carbon market
    5 No reference to decarbonisation, carbon neutrality, shipping & aviation
  16. The deal has to be regarded as a hugely significant step but there is an elephant in the room. All of the countries' pledges to reduce emissions, according to well-respected analysis, will lead to global warming of 2.7 degrees - not two, and definitely not 1.5.
  17. After the party is over tonight, minds must turn to how to bridge the emissions gap. Otherwise this "ambitious, fair, legally binding and inclusive" agreement will ultimately fail in its purpose.
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