MANILA, Philippines – From cynical to ecstatic, the public reaction to the historic 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) agreement spanned the full range of emotions.
Here are some of the reactions to the COP21 agreement scored over the weekend in Paris, France:
“Bold and historic” tweeted former US Vice President Al Gore on the COP21 agreement.
The Nobel laureate had long been a champion of climate action and his most famous contribution is the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” During the conference, he also met with Filipinos and encouraged them to keep pushing for progress, saying, “We are beginning to win this struggle.”
He wasn’t the only one cheering when the agreement was adopted.
Filipino climate negotiator Emmanuel “Manny” de Guzman praised the pact and the Philippine delegation: “This is a victory for all. This is a victory for humanity because we’ve found a common ground.”
Throughout the talks, the Philippine negotiators worked tirelessly to push for contentious provisions like human rights, climate justice, and a 1.5ºC cap as part of the “High Ambition Coalition,” a group of countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
“Laudable” said Rodne Galicha, a Steering Committee Member of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, of the Philippine delegation’s push for a deal.
National Youth Commissioner (NYC) Dingdong Dantes praised Filipinos back home for lending their voice to the talks. He tweeted: “Our voices were heard!” He was one of the pillars of #NowPH campaign organized to present 1 million Filipino voices at France. By the start of COP21, the movement gathered 3 million voices.
3. Not impressed
While manyfound a reason to celebrate, others were less than thrilled at the deal.
Former lead climate change negotiator Yeb Saño compared parts of the deal to a loosely-held promise. (READ: #COP21: Paris pact draws cheers, but what’s next?)
A lot of inaccuracies out there. “to pursue efforts to limit the temp inc to 1.5 °C” is the same as a new year’s resolution. Not binding.— Yeb Saño (@YebSano) December 13, 2015
One of the most heavily criticized parts was that the 1.5ºC was not legally binding. Emission cuts would also not be in full swing until 2020.
This led Shubert Cienca, Oxfam Philippines’ Economic Justice Policy and Campaigns Manager, to call it “mere paper at this point in time.”
“This agreement is useless if countries are unable to ratify and implement – the challenge lies on governments and their people,” wrote Galicha.
Kalikasan PNE, a local environmental group, accused the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and the European Union of hijacking the talks – the group with the biggest emissions – leading to the absence of contentious provisions.
Many were disappointed the human rights issue seemed to have been sidelined. Dorah Marema from GenderCC Southern Africa wrote, “What was not very present for me in these global negotiations is the human side or the human face of the climate change problem.”
Throughout the negotiation process, the human rights issue was continuously bracketed, meaning countries disputed it. The United States, some EU countries, and Norway did not want it to be a legally-binding, while Saudi Arabia wanted to do away with it completely. (READ: Human rights in danger of being sidelined in Paris climate deal)
Regardless of the reaction, many agreed that COP21 was just the first step in the long road to climate resiliency.
“#COP21 is just the beginning,” said Dantes. “The next step is to monitor its implementations.”
“The agreement must not end in Paris,” Galicha said. – Rappler.com