Historic agreement in City of Light a beacon of progress

A HISTORIC universal agreement at the UN climate talks in Paris today is a watershed moment in the global effort to tackle climate change, the Climate Council’s Tim Flannery said today.

World leaders today agreed to work together to tackle climate change in a strong agreement that commits countries, big or small, rich or poor, to pursuing all efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

“We have witnessed something incredible today. Finally, we can feel hopeful that we are on a path to tackling climate change,” Professor Flannery said.

"This is a watershed moment. All countries have acknowledged they have to act, and almost all are already doing so.

“In the first ever universal climate agreement, leaders the world over have marked the end of the fossil fuel era and provided a catalyst for what could be the greatest period of technological innovation in the history of mankind.

“The era of renewable energy is upon us.

“Renewable energy has been front and centre throughout the conference. The technology is ready to go, it is profitable, and now, with this agreement, countries worldwide will be following mayors, companies and citizens to accelerate the massive scale up of renewable energy that is already well underway.”

The Climate Council’s Professor Lesley Hughes said the agreement was a big step forward but countries, like Australia, will need to significantly ramp up their commitments over time to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

“The agreement acknowledges that we must limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It is tremendously exciting that the agreement is referenced to the science. Minimising temperature rise will reduce the profound risks that climate change poses to humanity and the environment that supports us,” she said.

“By including this important goal in the agreement, world leaders have recognised that our climate is changing more rapidly and with larger and more damaging impacts than first thought and underscored how quickly we must act to safeguard our climate.”

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the onus was now on the Australian Government to explain to the Australian people how they were going to contribute to tackling climate change.

“This agreement is a framework for how we are going to tackle climate change. And now it’s down to every country, every state and every city to work out how they are going to contribute,” she said.

“International leaders have expressed serious doubts over whether Australia can meet its obligations with the Direct Action policy. And the Australian Government simply cannot approve new fossil fuel projects if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“Today Paris, the city of light, shines brighter than ever. The agreement reached in the capital is a beacon of progress that will burn brightly for years to come.”

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