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COP21: Positive Aspects For Solar Industry

What Are The Positive Aspects For The Solar Industry Of The New Climate Agreement Adopted In Paris And Which Ones Do Not Convince?

As everyone knows, the evening of Saturday 12 at CoP21 in Paris was approved the long-awaited global agreement to tackle the climate crisis. The agreement adopted by the 195 countries that participated in the Conference UNFCCC aims to stop global warming "below the 2 ° C" from pre-industrial levels, but also mentions the will to contain it within the 1.5 ° C.

This is historic and represents a huge step for the multilateral process. But make no mistake: this is just the start of the heavy lifting. The first major task will be ratification by individual countries. The agreement won't come into effect until 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions ratify it. Since there are no legally binding carbon targets, the deal doesn't have to go through the U.S. Senate -- one of the major issues that killed momentum on the Kyoto Protocol.

The agreement includes national commitments, to be reviewed every five years only to upward, strengthening the mechanism Loss & Damage in poor countries, commits to cut emissions by developing countries and emerging powers such as China and India, but does not contain quantified targets in terms of overall cuts CO2 and does not provide control mechanisms that make it legally binding.

A mix of positives and vagueness that has divided commentators in the environmental field. The goal on emission cuts, however, in the draft of 9 December, there was: citing the recommendations of the last IPCC report, aimed to reduce emissions by 40-70% (compared to the 2010 levels) by 2050. But now, as we know, the approved text speaks only to keep the temperature increase "well below" the 2 ° C, trying to not exceed 1.5 ° C, and get to have a balance of emissions of at zero in the second half of this century.

In short, the target is not well defined; or rather it does not settle the way to get there. In presenting - the French Foreign Minister Fabius - spoke of an agreement "legally binding", but reading the text does not seem to be so.

The agreement in fact is not legally binding. Article 15, states that will be set up a committee of experts who will work from the first session of the Agreement, then in 2020, to establish a compliance system.

The fact that 195 countries have agreed to lower carbon emissions is a big deal. And that means more investment certainty for the solar industry. It is an historic agreement because for the first time is a global agreement, which also involves the countries that emit more because now the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions is due to the developing countries, including China, the largest emitter. If the subscription period, between April 2016 and April 2017, most countries will sign the agreement - especially the big emitters like China, the US, Europe and India - will be a great success, overcoming the Kyoto Protocol.

America's goal is to  26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Solar will definitely play a role in this this, most prominently through the Clean Power Plan, which was foundational to the submitted carbon reduction targets.

Solar and other renewables have been a key piece of broader policy efforts by the Obama administration. Over the past six months, the White House has thrown its support behind community solar, solar for low-income households, and training programs.  

The big question on the federal level will be whether Congress can extend the Investment Tax Credit. The politics around the ITC are mostly divorced from the international climate talks, so the Paris deal likely won't have much influence on the current horse-trading or different pathways for extension in the short term. 

Globally, the result is equally unclear -- but certainly positive.

Article wrote with the technical support of PV Compare - tool for comparing solar companies


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