The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, held in Paris, from 30 November to 12 December 2015, has ended successfully with 200 nations signing off on a historic climate deal. The objective was to achieve a universal agreement on methods to reduce climate change in the pact, named the Paris Agreement, by all the nations of the world. This pact will become legally binding if it is ratified by at least 55 countries that represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse emissions, and then implemented by 2020. According to the organizing committee, the expected key result was to limit the global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, as compared to before the industrial era.

The good news is that this goal was outmatched by the final draft of the Paris Agreement, which is intended to also pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The bad news is that such an ambitious goal means achieving zero level in emissions sometimes between 2030 and 2050 and no concrete goals for emissions have been decided upon as yet. However the climate deal is the first step to slow down the consequences of a rapidly warming planet and by requiring regular reviews, the deal lays a groundwork for stronger action in the future hence allowing us to be optimistic about it.

On the global front it has the potential to bridge the divide between the developed and the developing world. It could aid the economies in technologically innovative places like the United States and Japan and push relatively poor countries with an abundance of sun and wind towards renewable and clean energy. Major oil producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia, will lose some of the control over the global energy and financial market as dependence on fossil fuel will decrease worldwide, influencing global politics as we know it today.

Representatives of some developing nations did express trepidation as they had pushed for a legally binding provision requiring that rich countries appropriate a minimum of at least $100 billion a year to help them mitigate the devastating effects of climate change in their countries. In the final deal, that $100 billion figure appears only in a preamble, not in the legally binding portion of the agreement, and a lot depends on the rich countries ability to pay up. The true success of this historic deal depends heavily on two factors outside the parameter of the deal; global peer pressure and the actions of future governments. As Mr. Arias Cañete, the European Union’s commissioner for energy and climate action said, “Today, we celebrate, tomorrow, we have to act. This is what the world expects of us.”