A climate deal agreed in Paris to try and limit global temperatures to less than 2 degrees has been heralded as “watershed moment for mankind” and “an exciting opportunity” for business.

Paris Agreement: a

Almost 200 countries, including the US, China and India, agreed on Saturday to strike the first climate deal to set out a clear long-term temperature limit for the planet. Partly legally binding and partly voluntary, the ‘Paris Agreement’ commits all countries to keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C.

After almost two weeks of intense negotiations, delegates at the 21st UN Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris cheered and applauded as the President of COP21 and French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, signalled the adoption of the agreement with the strike of a gavel.

US President Barack Obama described the climate deal as “historic”, whilst David Cameron said it marked “a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet”. UK Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd declared it an “extraordinary agreement”.

The Climate Group, a not-for-profit, which works with corporate and government partners around the world, heralded the agreement as “a victory for science and vision, which calls time on the fossil fuel age and charts us firmly on course for a clean industrial revolution.”

Britain’s biggest business group, the CBI, said the deal heralded “an exciting opportunity for business” and provided “the framework for business to invest with confidence”.

The key points of the agreement are:

• to try to keep global temperature rises “well below” 2C and to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5C

  • to peak greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of GHGs in the second half of this century

for countries to set increasingly ambitious targets for cutting their national emissions and to report on their progress every five years – however, targets are not legally binding and countries can decide these for themselves

•  to continue a goal for developed countries to provide $100 billion (£65.9 billion) of finance for developing countries each year after 2020.

The Paris Agreement still needs to be ratified by national Governments and it has been criticised in some quarters for not going far enough, however, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said: “We now have a climate deal agreed by the world’s leaders that puts us on a sustainable low carbon path.”

Mark Kenber, ceo of The Climate Group, added: “It gives us the long term climate goal we wanted, and a clear roadmap on how to get there. This gives policymakers, businesses and investors the certainty they need to move ahead and build a low carbon economy.”

Commenting on the Paris Agreement, Planet First ceo Steve Malkin, said: “This is a truly historic agreement. Yes, there is still a long way to go and many hurdles to overcome, but the direction of travel is now clear for businesses that want to seize the exciting opportunities of a low carbon economy.”

As part of a commitment to mobilise “a global market transformation” in the building sector post COP21, Planet First has pledged to “help Planet Mark-certified organisations reduce their carbon footprint per employee by at least 10% per year”.

We also plan to hold an event early in the New Year to review what was achieved at COP21 and discuss ways businesses and other organisations can take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Paris Agreement.

If you would like to find out more about our pledge or the event we will be holding in the New Year, please click on the link below.

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