COP21: Papers hail 'historic' Paris deal

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Newspaper front pages reporting about the climate dealImage source, BBC Monitoring

Newspapers across the world have hailed the Paris climate agreement as a major step to halt global warming.

Many papers speak of a "historic compromise" and praise their own national negotiators for their role in making the deal possible, but some also caution that many challenges remain ahead.

'Historic compromise'

"The Paris summit reaches a historic compromise on climate change," says Spain's El Pais.

"Historic agreement in Paris to limit rising temperatures," says Italy's La Repubblica.

The New York Times gives a thumbs up to the agreement.

Under the headline "Climate Accord is a Healing Step, if Not a Cure," it notes that if the signatories stick to the letter, they can "achieve far larger cuts in emissions than any previous climate accord.

"The deal, in short, begins to move the countries of the world in a shared direction that is potentially compatible with maintaining a liveable planet over the long term."

"The governments of 195 countries overcame decades of deep divisions to strike a watershed deal," Canada's The Globe and Mail wrote late on Saturday.

"195 nations signed it to protect mankind and nature: The Paris agreement, a major step by humanity to face the global challenge," Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh says.

London-based Saudi-owned Al-Hayat is pleased that the US has signed up for the deal.

"The return of the US to face the catastrophic climate disturbance, with its importance as a major power, can be considered the most prominent achievement of the Paris agreement," it says.

'Tears, cheers and selfies'

"They erupted into cheers, broke into tears, took selfies and quoted great figures of history after the gavel came down in Paris on Saturday, launching the quest to save mankind from global warming," writes the Philippine news agency GMA in reference to the palpable relief among the negotiators after the deal was adopted.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
World leaders' enthusiasm about the climate deal is shared by many commentators

Other newspapers focus on the implications for their own countries.

"India, seen as a tough nation to get on board, is 'happy' with the deal," writes The Times of India.

Another Indian daily, The Hindustan Times, says the "roadmap for climate action yields a mixed bag for India".

Noting that the Paris agreement "has a lot in store for economies in transition like India with over a trillion dollars in green investment set to be handed out in the next decade or so enabling the adoption of greener technologies", the paper cautions that "Paris is half battle won as a lot will be decided in subsequent climate conferences before 2020 when the agreement will come into force."

In China, which was blamed for obstructing the last high-level climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, Xiaochen Zhang and Qimin Chai argue in China Daily that Beijing has been taking its responsibility seriously over the past two decades.

'Huge' challenges ahead

A commentary in The Sydney Morning Herald is relieved that "none of the potential spoilers - such as fossil-fuel rich Saudi Arabia and Russia - stormed out or obstructed the final agreement".

"But the real test," the article notes, "will take years and decades to play out, long after the congratulatory speeches are a fading memory".

"In the eyes of the frustrated negotiator, the blurring in Paris of the distinction between rich and poor nations - a practice since the Montreal Protocol in 1989 to phase out ozone-destroying chemicals - may be one of this conference's biggest achievements," it says.

In Israel, centrist Yediot Aharonot says the Paris deal "takes us one big step towards the possibility of continuing to reasonably live on Earth for scores of years" but "many more efforts are needed" and the leaders will be "judged by the implementation."


In South Africa, The Sunday Times leads with a headline "Historic Paris climate pact not possible without SA contribution" in reference to President Zuma's remarks in which he praised his country's contribution to the negotiations, particularly its hosting of a conference in Durban in 2011, where the parties agreed to the mandate for the Paris agreement.

But in Russia, there are no doubts as to who should be credited for the deal.

"The historic climate deal is a victory for Russian diplomacy" says a headline on the website of the Russian Defence Ministry's TV channel Zvezda.

It was Russia which had campaigned for the agreement to particularly focus on forests and also to apply to both developed and developing countries, Alexey Kokorin, the head of WWF Russia's climate and energy programme, is quoted as saying.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.