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“The Paris Agreement Is Officially Adopted”

COP21 officials all join hands after acclamation of the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC)

With these words (in French), COP21 President Laurent Fabius of France acknowledged the success of the third draft of the Paris Agreement on climate change for 2020 onward.

Fabius had released the draft earlier this afternoon for delegates to review. Following a break to read the text and last-minute corrections from the legal and linguistic group and the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, the worldwide body adopted it “with legal force” by acclamation.

Climate leader and former US Vice President Al Gore (UNFCCC)

Climate leader and former US Vice President Al Gore (UNFCCC)

Applause for the consensus was immediate and long. Top officials at the high table joined hands, stood, and embraced to the cheers of the Conference of Parties. The camera cut to the convention parties, then to former US Vice-President Al Gore standing with a wide smile, congratulating his colleagues, hands held high in applause. Read the document here.

Following the announcement and sustained ovation, President Fabius called on the representatives of all conference parties to speak for their constituencies. Here are some photographs captured from the livestream webcast by the United Nations, which is still going on.

Laurence Tubiana, Christiana Figueres, and Laurent Fabius applaud the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC)

Laurence Tubiana, Christiana Figueres, and Laurent Fabius applaud the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC)

South Africa Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa speaks for the G77 + China (UNFCCC)

South Africa Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa speaks for the G77 + China (UNFCCC)

In proper order, and most appropriately, the first delegate to speak was Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, the South African representative of the G77 + China, the largest and most crucial group of national delegates. She spoke first of “a better and safer world.” She indicated that further negotiations in Marrakech would address her group’s remaining questions of climate finance.

She ended by quoting the words of world leader Nelson Mandela from her country about “the long road to freedom,” only to climb the hill and perceive “many more hills to climb.” Off we go, friends!

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covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."


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