by Dominic Kotas, Copywriter at ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability and alumnus RCC editor.
So, after all the planning, speculation, and nervous anticipation, COP21 happened—and was generally seen as a qualified success. I was lucky enough to be in the “Climate Generations” areas (just next door to the negotiating zone) for the two weeks of the summit. When the agreement was announced, I took a break from my own wrap-up work to message my friends: “THEY GOT AN AGREEMENT!” It was hard not to feel, at least to some extent, that we had witnessed a significant moment in our planet’s history, and hard not to share the delight of the negotiators and the wider sustainability community.
For the first time, 185 nations committed to curbing the trajectory of current and future global greenhouse gas emissions and to limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, with the aim of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees. That in itself is something to be celebrated. The agreement shows that the entire world now recognizes climate change as a major issue, requiring a unified response, and it lays the foundations for making our societies greener, cleaner, and more sustainable.