COP21 closed with a document that acknowledges the risks of climate change and what needs to be done to mitigate it and to face its consequences. Indicates a road (reduce emissions) and provides funding and technological support for developing countries and for weaker economies: here below are the hot comments of international scientists, who recognize the importance of the work done at Paris but also complain about the lack of a system of strict rules.
Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia, Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research - "The final text of the agreement recognizes the imperatives of the scientific community to tackle climate change. The three key elements to do so are in some form: keeping the heating well below two degrees, practically abandoning fossil fuels, and reviewing the commitment of each country, every five years, in order to live up to it of the challenge. The emission cuts promised by the countries are still completely insufficient, but the agreement as a whole sends a strong message to companies, investors and citizens: the new energy is clean and fossil fuels belong to the past. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make it happen. "
John Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, on the long-term goal of the Paris agreement - «If shared and implemented, it means eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within a few decades. It is in line with the scientific evidence we have presented of what we should do to limit risks such as extreme weather phenomena and sea level rise. To stabilize the planet's climate, CO2 emissions must be cut down before 2030 and should be cleared as soon as possible after 2050. Technologies such as bioenergy and carbon capture and storage, as well as reforestation, are important to compensate emissions - but it is essential to cut CO2. "
Myles Allen, University of Oxford - "Achieving goals in the second half of the century means, in effect, bringing net carbon dioxide emissions to zero. It seems that governments have understood this, even though they have not stated so strongly. To have a good chance of staying below 2 degrees we must aim for 1.5 degrees, and it makes sense to recognize that the 2-degree target is barely "safe". All in all, a good result. "
Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Center - "This agreement is a turning point for a transformation of the world within a safe operating range of 1.5-2 ° C. Paris is a starting point. Now we need political action consistent with science to implement sustainable development and achieve decarbonisation by 2050. "
Diana Liverman, Institute of the Environment (University of Arizona) - "The Paris agreement is a significant step forward in reducing the risks associated with anthropogenic climate change, but certainly not to eliminate them. We still face very serious consequences that we will have to face. Current national commitments, the INDCs, to reduce emissions bring us above 2 degrees. The agreement implies that these commitments cannot be reviewed until 2018, and in the meantime we will have burned even more fossil fuels and increased global warming.
"This makes funding for adaptation and to deal with climate change damage even more urgent. Everything is mentioned in the agreement, but there is no indication of how most of the 100 billion dollars a year promised to developing countries will be spent and allocated, in particular to the most vulnerable countries, to face the consequences of climate change. All this means that especially the efforts of companies and individual citizens to reduce emissions, beyond national commitments, will be important.
"At the IPCC, a special report on the impact of 1.5 ° C with respect to pre-industrial levels and global emission trends is required for 2018. The scientific community must get to work right away: there is still much to understand about the impact of 1.5 degrees on the world and in particular on the patterns of precipitation and the effects of climate change on key sectors of the economy and regions more vulnerable. And we have to start studying how the planet can survive temperature peaks and then recover.
"The Paris agreement underlines the obligations for governments to respect, promote and guarantee, human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, the disabled and the more people vulnerable, the right to development and gender equality, equity between generations. This recognition of rights and groups is a modest victory for the many who are interested in climate justice, but now it will have to be translated into actions so that mitigation and adaptation policies, losses and damages, finance and technology transfer influence and hopefully benefit human rights. "
Joeri Rogelj, IIASA - "The new text of Article 4 is clearer than the previous one in scientific terms. It is important to underline that the benchmarks in terms of peaks and reduction of global emissions are in line with the objectives of 1.5 and 2 ° C. Much remains to be done but it is encouraging to see the agreement initiate a process that could lead to the desired objectives.
"Every climate action has been enormously delayed in recent decades and, even today, emissions continue to increase. Limiting heating to 1.5 ° C is an aspiration that we will not achieve if we are not able to plan interventions for the next decade.
«The technologies capable of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will become indispensable for achieving this goal. The technologies to achieve "zero emissions", necessary to limit heating to 1.5 ° C by the end of the century, are instead uncertain. It therefore makes sense to encourage developments that have a positive impact on the climate.
«With the aim of limiting heating to 1.5 ° C, we must plan for the short term. If a technology does not prove effective in the long term, the only solution to stay below two degrees will be that of cutting emissions immediately. "
Steffen Kallbekken, CICERO - "The biggest success of the Paris conference is that more than 180 countries have presented their national climate policy goals. However, it is a historic agreement, because for the first time it sends a clear signal to policy makers, businesses and investors asking them to start the transition to a low-carbon society.
"However, estimates suggest that current commitments will result in a temperature increase between 2.7 and 3.7 degrees. Greater efforts are needed to limit climate change. All countries will present an update on their climate policies every five years: it is important to stress that every time they present a new goal, this will have to be more ambitious than the previous one.
"The Paris agreement aims to limit the temperature increase to 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels and to" continue the effort to limit the increase to 1.5 ° C. " This reflects the growing concern about the impact of climate change even at warming levels below 2 degrees. The ambitious goal is temperature, however, it is not accompanied by an equally ambitious mitigation objective.
«The agreement provides that countries should aim to reduce emissions peaks as soon as possible, and from that moment on to reduce them and, in the second half of the century, balance emissions and absorption systems.
"This does not send a clear signal on the levels and timing of emission reductions, and does not provide a useful criterion for measuring progress. Although it does not conflict with science, it does not reflect the best science available. The IPCC concluded that, to have a chance to limit heating to 2 degrees, emissions should be cut from 40 to 70 percent compared to 2010 by 2050. To reach the target of 1.5 degrees the cuts should be more significant, in the order of 70-95% by 2050. "