Many environmental groups, climate justice activists, business leaders and faith-based organizations, among others, heaped praise on the global community after UN climate leaders released the long-awaited Paris treaty text at 2:30 p.m. local time, following two weeks of intense and exhaustive deliberations. The text still needs to be adopted by nearly 200 nations. Not every group was universally supportive. Here's a round-up of reactions to the text:
Mike Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club:
"The Paris agreement is a turning point for humanity. For the first time in history, the global community agreed to action that sets the foundation to help prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis while embracing the opportunity to exponentially grow our clean energy economy."
"Anyone in Washington or in the board rooms of fossil fuel companies around the world who attempts to stand in the way will have the full weight of the international community, global markets, scientific consensus, the climate movement, and public opinion firmly pushing back against them. This historic international agreement is what the American people demanded, what future generations deserve, and what the world needs."
Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
"A great tide has turned. Finally the world stands united against the central environmental challenge of our time, committed to cutting the carbon pollution that's driving climate change."
Alden Meyer, strategy and policy manager at Union of Concerned Scientists:
"Today, countries must come together to respond to the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. While there will be more work to do, if adopted, the Paris Agreement would give the world hope that we can come to grips with the mounting climate change crisis and leave our children and grandchildren with a habitable planet."
Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute:
"This agreement would mark a true turning point in the global effort to address climate change. The text reflects both the push for high ambition and the voices of the most vulnerable. It accelerates the energy transformation that is well underway, pointing us to a safer and stronger future."
Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's senior climate advisor:
"For the first time in history the whole world has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change. Although different countries will move at different speeds, the transition to a low carbon world is now inevitable. Governments, investors and businesses must ride this wave or be swept away by it."
Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics:
"This is a historic moment, not just for us and our world today, but for our children, our grandchildren and future generations. The Paris Agreement is a turning point in the world's fight against unmanaged climate change, which threatens prosperity and well-being among both rich and poor countries. The Agreement creates enormous opportunities as countries begin to accelerate along the path towards low-carbon economic development and growth."
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk:
"Today Paris lived up to its name as the City of Lights. This historic agreement sends a spark, a signal, that the low-carbon global economy has officially arrived...The U.S. business community came to Paris looking for market signal that the world is ready for a low-carbon future, and today we got it."
Anthony Hobley, CEO of the Carbon Tracker Initiative: "With this historic deal world leaders have unambiguously confirmed their commitment to limit dangerous warming and nearly every country has published its own plan to limit carbon emissions. This is a new kind of inclusive global agreement providing a framework for action. It sends a strong signal that will accelerate the low-carbon transition that is already underway."
Nigel Topping of We Mean Business:
"This is a remarkable diplomatic settlement and a historic economic catalyst. The world's governments have sent a decisive signal to businesses and investors that will accelerate the shift towards a thriving, clean global economy. The Paris Agreement for net zero emissions will turn the billions of investment we've seen so far into the trillions the world needs to bring clean energy and prosperity to all."
John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:
"If [the long-term temperature target is] agreed and implemented, this means bringing down greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero within a few decades. It is in line with the scientific evidence we presented of what would have to be done to limit climate risks such as weather extremes and sea-level rise. To stabilize our climate, CO2 emissions have to peak well before 2030 and should be eliminated as soon as possible after 2050."
The Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith:
"We are one earth and one human family, and this is a step forward in responding to the climate crisis. We must build on this foundation and be as ambitious as humanly possible to protect the vulnerable and our common home."
Gustavo Silva-Chávez, REDDX program manager:
"Today marks a historic moment for forests as they are now enshrined in the new global climate agreement. All countries have agreed on simple language that operationalizes forest protection and flips the 'on' switch for international finance to make it happen. Forests can now play a key part in our global response to climate change, helping to achieve both mitigation and adaptation goals."
Qualified praise and criticism came from:
Kumi Naido, Greenpeace executive director:
"The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. There's much in the text that has been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. That single number, and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century, will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states."
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org:
"Every government seems now to recognize that the fossil fuel era must end and soon. But the power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now, activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry. This didn't save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet."
Heather Coleman, climate change policy manager at Oxfam:
"Poor people suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change have no time left. This agreement represents an important step towards avoiding 3 degrees of temperature change or worse, but more ambition is clearly needed. The Paris agreement is a launching point for further actions that address the needs of those who have done the least to cause this crisis but who are suffering the most."
Tasneem Essop, head of delegation for World Wildlife Foundation:
"By including a long-term temperature goal of well below 2°C of warming with a reference to a 1.5°C goal, the latest draft text sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science...A big concern is that there's no guarantee of assistance for those who will suffer from immediate climate impacts, especially the poor and the vulnerable."
Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute:
"The plain truth is that Paris didn't produce the strong, just and binding treaty we need to protect the planet's most climate-vulnerable people and our very web of life from climate chaos. But the summit did highlight the growing power of a global movement for true climate justice."
Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International:
"The world's 'leaders' in Paris delivered exactly what was expected of them: not much. In Houston, the oil industry is surely more excited about potentially lifting the crude export ban in Washington than they are concerned by the text emerging from this year's climate talks."
Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth U.S. President:
"The Paris Climate Agreement is not a fair, just or science-based deal. President Obama challenged the international community to act aggressively to combat climate chaos. Instead of following his own words, the administration has systematically attempted to undermine some of the basic structures of the Framework Convention, abandoning the countries and communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate disruption."