COP21 agreement: step towards a sustainable earth

ECPM welcomes the climate agreement that was reached in Paris last weekend. All 195 countries present have signed the deal and have declared they want to combat global warming and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Stieneke van der Graaf, board member of ECPM: “This agreement is historical and a major step towards a more sustainable earth. By signing this agreement, all 195 countries have declared they are serious in addressing climate change and they want to make an effort to combat global warming.”

The agreement, reached on the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, shows that the world wants to make a difference in protecting and preserving the earth. Independence of the use of fossil fuels is a great step towards this goal. Furthermore, ECPM welcomes the agreed reduction of emission of global greenhouse gas emissions to a final temperature rise of 2°C above pre-industrial levels (ideally 1,5°C) and the fact that development countries will receive 100 billion dollars in support to adjust to global warming (considering some of those countries are beneath sea level). Whilst staying realistic, ECPM welcomes the fact that it is agreed to support countries that cannot make it on their own: a great example of relational thinking brought into practice.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz hailed the deal as “global, groundbreaking and trendsetting”[1]. However true this is, it is important to stay realistic. “The financing of the agreement has not yet been secured,” says Stieneke van der Graaf. “ECPM wants this to stay high on the European and international agenda.” Furthermore, it is now important for all countries to take this agreement seriously and take measures to ensure they can live up to their promises. Although the Paris agreement only enters into force in 2021, all countries should already start working towards the goals. ECPM is glad that it was agreed for all countries to gather every five years to monitor whether their climate plans have to be adjusted in order to reach the climate targets (while taking into account all countries’ possibilities and responsibilities: the more wealthy and developed countries have to accomplish more than development countries).

Ultimately, sustainability is a Christian calling. We are entrusted with stewardship of the earth and this calling gives us a great responsibility. ECPM believes that the idea of a free market should be completed with the fundamentals of our economic life: ecological sustainability and inclusive economic growth. Europe is in need of a relational paradigm that leads to a more inclusive approach in which the dignity of the human being, our common wellbeing and wise stewardship of resources is seen as equally important as competitiveness and efficiency. ECPM welcomes this agreement as a big step towards this goal.


[1] “Opening: Schulz hails world climate change deal in Paris”, European Parliament Press release, 14 December 2015

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