World aims to slow climate change

By the end of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 196 states had agreed to attempt to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Some commentators celebrate the agreement as a milestone and praise the global village for its new awareness. Others criticise the absence of business representatives and the lack of binding obligations.

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Die Welt (DE) /

Magic of Paris lies in voluntary action

The compromise reached in Paris testifies to a very modern form of decision-making, the conservative daily Die Welt believes: "Being innovative and improving one's living conditions has always been a stimulus for human development. That holds for science, and of course also for the big enabler we call capitalism. All the doomsayers who warn of the downfall believe they're helping the 'good cause' with measures that border on totalitarianism. But moderate thinking - avoiding the worst - is more efficient. And in the end, this is what brought about a sort of volonté générale, a common will. That is the magic of Paris, which gave free rein to the principle of voluntary action. Instead of sanctions, the emphasis is now being placed on self-control. A sign not of weakness, but of maturity."

La Tribune de Genève (CH) /

Global village closes ranks

The Paris climate accord exerts a wide-ranging appeal, the regional daily La Tribune de Genève writes: "The framework that has been worked out is to be welcomed, even if it is inadequate in certain areas regarding the tools it stipulates. Among others that includes the fact that measures for traffic are lacking. But the signals the agreement sends are strong, and the quick response on the part of thirteen carmakers on carbon emissions testifies to a real increase in awareness. In view of the global threat posed by the Islamic pseudo-State, the signal that a universal union exists is all the more effective. In the global village, all interconnected, the inhabitants of the earth have demonstrated their will to live -or at least to survive - together."

Die Presse (AT) /

Only a diplomatic pseudo-success

The climate agreement lacks substance, complains the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse: "For the first time rich and poor countries have undertaken to fight climate change. That sounds good, really good even. But unfortunately it's not quite true. All the states may have signed the agreement in Paris, but that wasn't all that much of a feat. The Paris agreement lacks the wherewithal to achieve its own goal of keeping global warming below two degrees above pre-industrial levels. The gap between the target and the reality is huge. There can be no talk here of a commitment to climate protection by everyone. And with precisely that lack of commitment the negotiators bought this diplomatic pseudo-success in advance. Since the climate conference in Copenhagen it's been clear that from that point on each country was free to decide for itself when, how and by how much to reduce its greenhouse emissions."

La Stampa (IT) /

Still not clear who must make sacrifices

The most important negotiating partners were absent from the talks in Paris, laments the liberal daily La Stampa: "The round of negotiations in Paris was poorly put together. The government representatives should have been sitting on one side of the table and the captains of industry sitting on the other. Companies, branch-specific manufacturers and also employee associations. … Unfortunately only governments with their bureaucratic entourages were present. But to ensure that the prospects are also viable in the short term it must be accepted that the reduction in greenhouse emissions will also mean a reduction in growth. … Yet we have no idea who is to cover the costs of eco-friendly growth. Nothing precise was said in Paris on this point."

Sme (SK) /

Global warming finally no longer denied

The liberal daily Sme explains what has changed since the failed climate conference in Copenhagen: "195 states reached an agreement that will not only keep global warming below the magic limit of two degrees Celsius by the end of the century but even push it down to just 1.5 degrees. And more than 180 states have presented their own national climate targets. … The most important point, however, is that the problem of global warming has actually been recognised as such. … Compared to Copenhagen 2009 much has changed. Renewable energies are no longer a subsidised plaything but a competitive sector. 'Ecological' no longer stands in contradiction to 'economically viable'. And what has changed most is the attitude of the people and the politicians regarding the climate. The question now is whether this means we will be able to react swiftly enough to climate change."