To get 195 nations to agree anything is pretty good. To get them to agree something pretty good is exceptionally good.
Six years ago I was one of many people, was it 40,000 or so (?), who marched on The Wave through the streets of London ahead for the Copenhagen climate talks. I was lucky enough to be in a group of environmentalists who had a chat with Gordon Brown around the cabinet table in Downing Street ahead of the climate talks in Denmark. We had hopes, although not very high ones – but those talks were an awful failure and have cast a pall over international climate change talks ever since.
The Copenhagen talks were seen as climate negotiations – who would give the most and the least – rather than talks in search of a solution to a dire problem. And they failed, but perhaps their failure helped to get a much better result this time around. This time, six years later, the world has come together and acted like an almost wise species, and has come up with something that is halfway to a solution. Half way? Half way because it now needs to be implemented and more needs to be done but it is a very good start. It would have been an even better start six years ago but you can’t have everything.
It is at moments like this when one can feel more hope for the human race.
Laurent Fabius ‘I am looking around the room, I see that the reaction is positive, I don’t hear any objection‘.
Barack Obama ‘the best chance we have to save the one planet we have‘.
David Cameron ‘a huge step forward in securing the future of the planet‘.
Jean-Claude Juncker ‘Today the world is united in the fight against climate change. Today the world gets a lifeline, a last chance to hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies’.
Prakash Javadekar, India environment minister ‘We have opened a new chapter of hope in the lives of 7 billion people on the planet. We have (the planet) on loan from future generations. We have today reassured these future generations that we will all together… give them a better earth’.
The UK was part of an EU delegation – the EU bus was heading in the same direction as the rest of the world. Just imagine if we got off the bus, got into our own banger of a mini, and let George Osborne take the wheel – we’d be heading in the opposite direction to everyone else.