Adil Najam and Henrik Selin in The Conversation:
At 7:27 pm local time Saturday, December 12th, 2015, a new Paris Agreement on global climate change was born after four years of taxing labor. Its much-anticipated birth was quickly followed by copious self-congratulations by many of the parents in the room who almost all were overcome by joy and bursting with pride.
Praise heaped upon newborns should be taken with a grain of salt. “Historic” is a term often thrown about too cavalierly, and a “new era” does not start every time government bureaucrats pull a few all-nighters. But, what has come out of Paris clearly marks a new direction for global climate cooperation.
We wish the newborn well, but upon some post-natal reflection, it is clear that the birth of the Paris Agreement should be cause for both hope and caution. Certain political developments are principally good and welcome. Other changes are largely bad. And some purposeful omissions may be plain ugly.
The Paris Agreement signals that climate change is back at the center of the global political agenda – at least for now.
A collective weight has been lifted off the backs of the many delegates who for the past six years have been struggling to recover from the Copenhagen fiasco in 2009, where countries failed to agree on a common strategy. The lingering gloom of Copenhagen has been replaced by Paris euphoria. For this, the French hosts deserve much credit.