HUFFINGTON POST – After two weeks of tense talks, word-wrangling and marathon overnight meetings, diplomats in Paris agreed to a global climate change accord on Saturday evening — a day after the summit’s scheduled conclusion.
Leaders and experts cheered the historic agreement that emerged from the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP21, calling it ambitious and realistic, and a crucial step in protecting the Earth for future generations.
“The decisive deal for the planet is here,” French President François Hollande told delegates Saturday morning, shortly before releasing the final draft. Outside, thousands of protesters had begun filling Paris streets in an appeal for a strong climate pact.
Some advocates, however, lamented that the deal falls short. They pointed to a lack of a specific timescale for phasing out fossil fuels, for example, as well as weak language on monitoring and verifying countries’ greenhouse gas emission reductions.
“This agreement won’t save the planet, not even close,” Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, a climate advocacy group, told The Huffington Post in an email. “But it’s possible that it saves the chance of saving the planet — if movements push even harder from here on out.”