December 12th will apparently go down in history as the day the global climate deal was made. Consensus between 200 countries has never been achieved before.
Here are the key elements:
To keep global temperatures "well below" 2.0C (3.6F) and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C
To limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
To review each country's contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing "climate finance" to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.
Source BBC.com http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35073297
Critics point out that only some elements are legally binding and there is little guidance on how stringent the caps on emissions need to be. However wealthy countries have pledged considerable amounts of money ($100 billion a year) to developing countries to assist them cut emissions and develop technologies to leapfrog to renewable energy sources as they develop.
It feels a bit like the reasoning behind the purpose of Rally4Life. People can criticise and say the problems are too big and you will never fix them, but if everyone pulls together to at least try it is better than doing nothing. That is our philosophy and I think the people that have benefitted from our efforts thanks to your support would agree.
As says Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo,"This deal alone won't dig us out the hole we're in, but it makes the sides less steep."