COP21 was a success. Here’s why

Never have such a large number of Heads of State been brought together before as were present at the Paris Climate Conference. That climate is the topic that got all of these countries to come together for the first time is the ultimate proof, if we still needed one, that sustainability and climate change are not marginal issues: they are at the core of our society and how it functions, grows, survives.

The final outcome is the first universal climate agreement, unanimously approved by no less than 195 States. To reach such a result is a tremendous achievement. When looking at past failures like Copenhagen in 2009, the fact that nearly 200 countries managed to reach an agreement at all sends a powerful message to the world and its people that it is crucial to tackle climate change, right now. Yes, certain topics are missing, and yes, the agreement as it stands won’t keep us below two degrees, but certain areas were bound to be left out if all the states were to arrive at a consensus – and we firmly believe that an agreement that still needs to grow and develop is far better than none at all. This is the best agreement we were going to get if we wanted to have everyone on board.

As many have said already, this is not the end, it is a springboard to roll up our sleeves and get to work. If we are to reach the targets set for all of humanity, let alone surpass them to stay well below two degrees, everyone needs to do their bit. As demonstrated throughout the conference, businesses as well as public institutions have a crucial role to play in decarbonisation. Those that settle for inaction will undoubtedly be on the wrong side of history.

Image source: Séance pleinière de la COP21 pour l’adoption de l’accord de Paris (Salle Seine – Le Bourget), by COP PARIS

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