It was the best of deals, it was the worst of deals

Both these perspectives on the Paris outcome have been submitted in the days since the agreement was finally gavelled through on Saturday.

On some points, everyone agrees. The deal does two things that have never been done before: it commits all the 195 signatory nations to holding the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2 °C”, and to reaching a balance between greenhouse gas emissions sources and sinks (otherwise known as net zero emissions) “in the second half of this century”.

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G20 leaders fail on climate, security fronts

The G20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, that concluded on 16 November was an opportune moment for rich nations to strengthen the chances of an ambitious new international climate deal and, in so doing, enhance global security. They failed on both counts.

The terrorist attacks in Paris have made it even more urgent that nations seal a strong agreement at the UN climate summit in the French capital, which is less than two weeks away.

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Enter the bad guys

“We are the bad guys. I am happy to be a bad guy. But the world is not black and white… and clearly oil and gas companies have to be part of the solution.”

These were the words of Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne when challenged on whether there was any irony to be found in the 16 October announcement, signed by the chief executives of 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, that they support efforts to keep global warming within a 2°C rise.

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