LE BOURGET, France (AP) – Nearly 200 nations adopted the first global pact to fight climate change on Saturday, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution but imposing no sanctions on countries that don’t.
The “Paris agreement” aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change.
The countries pledge to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.
President Barack Obama says the climate agreement reached in Paris on Saturday offers “the best chance to save the one planet we have.”
In a statement delivered from the Cabinet Room, Obama says we can be more confident the planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation, and that the deal shows the world has the will and ability to take on “this challenge.”
Achieving such a reduction in emissions would involve a complete transformation of how people get energy, and many activists worry that despite the pledges, countries are not ready to make such profound and costly changes.
The deal now needs to be ratified by individual governments – at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions – before taking effect.