LiveCOP21 as it happened: Climate deal adopted in Paris

Summary

  1. A two-week UN summit in Paris has agreed the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions
  2. The international agreement was gavelled through by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to claps and cheers
  3. More than 190 countries had been working on the pact for four years after earlier attempts to reach such a deal failed
  4. Negotiations ran into the small hours for three consecutive nights in order to hammer out the final draft

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Webb, Matt McGrath, Helen Briggs and Mark Kinver

Get Involved

Goodbye from the BBC in Le Bourget

With that, we are concluding our live coverage of the UN climate summit here in the northern suburbs of Paris.

Thank you for reading and watching developments with us over the past two weeks.

As the summit concludes, you can read this blog post by BBC environment correspondent Matt McGrath: Has history been made at COP21?

And if you're in the UK, tune into the News at Ten on BBC One to see a report on the climate deal from our science editor David Shukman.

But from the media centre here in the conference centre - goodbye.

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The number of journalists is starting to dwindle...

...particularly compared to the minutes before the plenary started.

Congratulations from space - and a passionate speech from the Marshall Islands

This just in - well, an hour or two ago - from the International Space Station:

#Congratulations #COP21 Delegates on your historic agreement! #Earth thanks you and so do I! #YearInSpace

And back on Earth, in the plenary hall at Le Bourget, the youth representative of the Marshall Islands Selina Leem spoke passionately about the importance of the Paris deal for her country:

This agreement is for those of us whose identity, whose culture, whose ancestors, whose whole being, is bound to their lands. I have only spoken about myself and my islands but the same story will play out everywhere in the world... Sometimes when you want to make a change, then it is necessary to turn the world upside down... This agreement should be the turning point in our story - a turning point for all of us.

twitter: https://twitter.com/JPvanYpersele/status/675783207812513793

LDC chairman: 'Not a perfect deal, but the best deal'

Speaking to science correspondent Rebecca Morelle on BBC World News, the chair of the Least Developed Countries bloc Giza Gaspar-Martins had this to say:

.@rebeccamorelle @LDCChairUNFCCC "It's not the perfect deal but it's the best deal" #COP21

Fabius: Keep it brief and we'll finish before tomorrow

Laurent Fabius, thanking yet another delegate for their contribution, said he had 40 more speakers on his list and asked them to be brief.

He suggested three minutes each would make a good goal.

"The best mathematicians among us can do 40 times three," he said, "which makes two hours."

Any longer and the meeting would risk running past midnight, local time - leaving future historians a dilemma as to whether they place the Paris deal on 12 or 13 December.

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Mr Fabius earlier

Chinese negotiator: Some reservations, but agreement will 'change way of life'

Mr. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy to COP21 and head of the Chinese delegation told BBC News that the Paris agreement is a major step forward in global efforts to curb climate change.

Mr Xie said that the Paris agreement will change the way of life for people of all countries.

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When asked about about the "areas of improvement" in the Paris agreement that he mentioned in his plenary speech, Mr Xie said that, for example, developed countries need to make further efforts to help support developing countries financially.

Speeches and applause continue as the site is slowly dismantled

Jonathan Webb

Science reporter, BBC News

From the moment the gavel was brought down by Mr Fabius, the horde of journalists here at COP21 had been warned we would have six hours to vacate the premises.

That means we have four hours left.

In that time there are TV news broadcasts, online stories and radio packages still to be wrapped up. But the journalists aren't the only ones working feverishly.

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Closing time at the US pavilion

Above the BBC's small office and studio - a second home to some of our team for the entire fortnight - there used to be a sleeping area.

Now there are the crashes and rumbles of enthusiastic furniture moving, rather than gentle footsteps and snores.

Meanwhile on screens all around us - and in the huge plenary hall a brisk five-minute walk away - French President Francois Hollande just finished speaking.

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Even before people filed into the plenary hall four hours ago, food supplies were getting thin

All the speakers now are interrupted regularly by bursts of cheers and applause; a relieved and exhausted UN climate chief Christiana Figueres faces a standing ovation.

This deal will need a lot more commitment from a great many corners if it is to succeed and cap global warming. Everyone here acknowledges that.

But Le Bourget is bathed in such a strange, exuberant atmosphere right now that we all feel we have witnessed a big moment for the world.

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Not long now till the last bus out of Le Bourget

More praise from Ban Ki-moon, John Kerry

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today would be a significant day for historians of the future to look back on:

#ParisAgreement: what was once unthinkable is now unstoppable - Ban Ki-moon. #COP21 #climatechange #climateaction

US Secretary of State John Kerry warmly praised the French presidency of COP21 and said the deal was a victory for the planet:

.@JohnKerry: "This is a victory for all the planet and the future generations" #COP21 #GoCOP21

Venezuela surprises with support for Paris climate deal

The oil-rich nation of Venezuela has often been reluctant to support strong action in climate talks just like these.

Today's agreement, however, drew full-voiced support from the country's lead negotiator Claudia Salerno.

By contrast, in 2009 Ms Salerno famously raised a bloodied hand to the Copenhagen summit, COP15.

Tonight she paid tribute to the role of women in making the deal - and said the day's events had "once again filled Paris with light and hope".

Venezuela says we can fill Paris w/ light & hope and acknowledges the many women who contributed to agreement #COP21

Venezuela agrees with EU agrees with Malaysia. Hell does not freeze over, but Co-Chair expresses surprise. #ADP2 #COP21

A toothless, voluntary fudge - or a strong signal to big business?

Roger Harrabin

BBC environment analyst

Reactions from outside the conference site here in Paris are also flowing in.

Benny Peiser from the climate contrarian group GWPF denounced today's deal as toothless.

"The deal is further proof, if any was needed, that the developing world will not agree to any legally binding caps, never mind reductions of their CO2 emissions,” he said.

“As seasoned observers predicted, the deal is based on a voluntary basis which allows nations to set their own voluntary CO2 targets and policies without any legally binding caps or international oversight.”

Paul Polman, the CEO of consumer giant Unilever, had a different view.

He said: “The result in Paris is an unequivocal signal to the business and financial communities, one that will drive real change in the real economy.

“The billions of dollars pledged by developed countries will be matched with the trillions of dollars that will flow to low carbon investment.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, agreed:

"The Paris deal heralds an exciting opportunity for business. We now have a climate deal agreed by the world's leaders that puts us on a sustainable low-carbon path and which can provide the framework for business to invest with confidence. 

"While the UK is making its voice heard at global talks, more needs to be done at home. The Government must provide a stable environment that enables investment in cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy generation."

Least developed countries welcome 'best outcome we could have hoped for'

In a statement, the chairman of the Least Developed Countries group Mr Giza Gaspar said:

“We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures. Nothing that has gone before compares to this historic, legally binding climate agreement. The COP Presidency and all parties worked hard to deliver this accord which will move the world to a 1.5 degrees goal, while aiming to leave no-one behind. It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”

Saint Lucia: 'Resounding triumph for multilateralism'

The environment minister of St Lucia, James Fletcher, wholeheartedly praised the way COP21 was conducted.

I can confidently speak on behalf of my fellow Caribbean delegations when I say that, perhaps for the first time in a long time, Caribbean and island states truly felt that our concern were being heard at a COP.

James Fletcher Environment Minister, Saint Lucia

Mr Fletcher added that he was looking forward to going home after two weeks "in the beautiful city of Paris, of which I've unfortunately seen very little".

I can return to my people, who adopted "1.5 to stay alive" as their mantra, and say that the future looks much brighter today than it did two weeks ago.

David Cameron: Our grandchildren will see we did our duty

Applauding the deal on Twitter, the Prime Minister of the UK returned to the theme he used in his address to the conference two weeks ago, among nearly 200 other heads of state and government.

Today's climate change deal means our grandchildren will see we did our duty in securing the future of our planet: facebook.com/DavidCameronOf…

Morocco, host of COP22 in 2016, addresses the conference

The environment minister of Morocco, Hakima el Haite, said she was emotional to be addressing the room at this time, and looking forward to hosting the Conference of the Parties (COP) next year.

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From today onwards we must transform the consensus we have achieved here in Paris into effective action and into tangible results.

Hakima el Haite Environment Minister, Morocco

A genuinely big deal, which faces big tests

David Shukman

Science editor, BBC News

So they made it. The lack of sleep, the fears of failure, the painful hours of restless shuttling between meeting rooms all paid off.

Skilled diplomatic footwork by the French crafted and recrafted a text that eventually gave enough people enough of what they were after.

It came down to haggling over individual words, each of which carried huge meaning.

The applause was tumultuous. And the hugs and cheers were spirited and lasted for minutes. By the standards of climate negotiations, this is a far bigger deal than usual.

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A very happy EU delegation

But – and there always is a ‘but’.

It did not take long for ministers to start casting ahead to how the agreement needs to be followed up.

South Africa warned that finance is still an issue and would be raised at the next big gathering, at COP22 in Morocco. Australia is warning about the challenges of implementing the deal.

As ever, it was hard to negotiate each clause; putting them into effect will be even harder.

EU: Tonight, we celebrate - but real work to come

The EU's climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete pledged the European Union's support for the agreement and said its commitments would increase in the future, including support for developing countries.

After tonight's celebrations, he said, the real work would begin:

We have in front of us a strong agreement. Now it needs to be implemented.

The world must see "tangible progress" before next year's COP22 summit in Morocco, Mr Canete concluded.

"That is what the world expects from us."

Nicaragua 'unable to support the consensus'

The deal has been formally adopted - there is no going back - but countries and blocs are still able to voice their concerns.

Representing Nicaragua and the "Alba" bloc of Central and South American countries, Paul Oquist did just that.

"We want to explain now why we are not able to support the consensus," he said.

Mr Oquist and his colleagues have particular reservations about the level of commitment made by all the individual countries in their pledges.

These "INDCs", he explained, will not restrict average temperature rises to 2C, let alone 1.5C - so much more rapid action is required than is presently on the table.

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Australia: No country will step back

Representing the "umbrella group" of developed countries, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that although, as expected, no country would see this deal as the perfect solution, "No country will step back."

Fabius thanks his staff - who receive their own standing ovation

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The victory speeches begin

South African Minister Edna Molewa, speaking on behalf of the "G77 plus China" group of developing countries:  

The agreement is balanced and the best we can get at this historic moment.

Ms Molewa finished her comments with a quote from Nelson Mandela:

I can only rest for a moment - for with freedom comes responsibilities and I dare not linger. For my long walk is not ended.

Fabius: "A small gavel does a great job"

With a wide grin, COP president Laurent Fabius banged the gavel indicating the Paris agreement was now officially adopted.

The standing ovation continued.

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A standing ovation for Laurent Fabius and his presidency

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Former US vice-president Al Gore joins the applause
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BreakingThe agreement is adopted, to prolonged and loud applause

Conference president Fabius:

I now invite the COP to adopt the document. I see no objections.

A crucial 'shall' comes out for 'should'

Further to the concerns over "shall" and "should" in Article 4 - the secretariat have just clarified the meaning of this section, which appeared to suggest that developed countries had a legal obligation to make emissions reductions while developing countries didn't.

The "shall" was an error, the team says. It has been replaced by a "should" meaning that it isn't legally binding. 

A list of corrections begins...

Now a list of technical corrections is being read out - which the "Secretaire Executif Adjoint" says resulted from delegates and staffers being understandably sleep-deprived.

BBC/UNFCCC

Recapping the more straightforward decisions

Conference president Laurent Fabius has introduced a recap of legal proceedings that took place to help put the agreement together.

The delegates are discussing the paragraphs that had already agreed by consensus.

BreakingWATCH LIVE: Delayed, critical plenary session now underway

After two long weeks of negotiations, in which a draft agreement was whittled from some 50 pages down to 31, a session is now underway that could see it turned into a UN treaty.

Use the 'Live Coverage' tab at the top of the page to watch.

We will bring you comments and analysis as the meeting progresses.

Is there a problem with "shall" and "should"?

Matt McGrath

Environment correspondent, BBC News, Paris

We're hearing that there may be some problems over Article 4 of the agreement.

One of the sub-paragraphs says that developed countries "shall" undertake economy-wide, absolute emission reductions targets.

Whereas developing countries "should" continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are "encouraged" over time to move towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets.

The line for the developed world would be legally binding, while the developing countries requirement would not.

Also the use of "absolute" - meaning actual reductions - is not reflected in the developing countries target.

This, of course, is just journalistic speculation, prompted by the lack of actual movement at present.

But the rumour continues....

After multiple postponements, a plenary drifts into prime time

BBC science editor David Shukman is about to broadcast live on the early evening news in the UK - while in the next hall, hundreds of delegates await an overdue plenary session that could decide the deal.

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While we wait: Turning a document into a graph

According to some commentators, how well this deal will work comes down to a key question of vocabulary: how many "shoulds" and how many "shalls" does it contain?

"Shall" is seen as legally binding, whereas "should" is not.

ParisAgreement.org - a group that has been analysing the text as the fortnight went on - has mapped out where all the "shalls" can be found...

twitter: https://twitter.com/ParisAgreement/status/675726950174969856

A long sequence of 'huddles' on the plenary stage

Conference chief Laurent Fabius has been lost from view in a series of huddled discussions behind the lectern.

Observers are unsure exactly what is being discussed - and what we are waiting for.

The atmosphere is rather more confused now and delegates are moving around the room again, having their own discussions. But nobody is going very far.

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Which way will it go - and when? No one seems quite sure...

Matt McGrath

Environment correspondent, BBC News, Paris

As delegates wait for the start of this key session, no one is quite certain if we will be here for minutes or for hours.

The body language and the statements already made indicate that key blocks are supporting the deal.

But it may well be that groups and individual countries will want to take the opportunity to make remarks.

COP21 president Laurent Fabius could possibly "gavel through" the adoption of the agreement very quickly before the speeches start in earnest.

If that happens, expect roof-lifting cheers from the normally sombre diplomats and ministers.

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It's delegations only in the hall itself - but you can watch the session right here on this page

Selfie signals seem positive for agreement's adoption

This plenary session is running half an hour late - and counting - but all the body language is looking positive for adoption of the agreement.

If the number of selfies being taken by groups of normally strait-laced negotiators is anything to go by, then this deal is surely home and hosed.

Support for agreement grows, minutes away from critical plenary meeting

US lead negotiator Todd Stern told reporters as he entered the meeting that the US was supporting the agreement. The G77 plus China group, representing more than 130 developing nations, also assented to the deal. 

We are united, all together. We are happy to go home with this text

Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko South African negotiator and spokesman for the G77

A packed hall is waiting to hear what happens

Attendees spotted in the room include former head of the UNHCR Mary Robinson, former US vice-president Al Gore and leading climate economist Nicholas Stern.

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Thumbs up from China?

Chinese negotiator Xie Zhenhua gave a quiet thumbs-up to Miguel Arias Canete, the EU's climate commissioner, as they both moved towards their seats.

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