The nations gathered made a historic step down a very long road…


“HISTORY is here,” declared François Hollande, France’s president, on Saturday morning.

"The UN climate conference in Paris had run over its original deadline, and the final text had yet to be seen, but the mood among the negotiators and ministers he was addressing was buoyant. And for the rest of a long day bonhomie kept on breaking out. China’s special representative for climate change, Xie Zhenhua, gave Nicholas Stern, a British economist, a jolly embrace. When Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, gaveled the agreement through in the evening there were cheers, tears and shouts of jubilation (pictured).

The “Paris agreement”, negotiated under the aegis of the UN, aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”—a more ambitious goal than had been expected. Similar ambition was apparent in the agreement’s explicit goal of having as much greenhouse gas coming out of the atmosphere as going into it in the second half of the century…"

(This article originally appeared on the Economist's website on Dec. 12th 2015 )