Nicolas Ibarguen/Fusion

As nearly 200 countries approved a landmark climate change accord in Paris on Saturday, thousands of protesters took to the city's streets to demand that the politicians go even further.

The 21st UN summit on climate change ended on Saturday afternoon with the adoption of the first-ever global deal of its kind. The Associated Press said that the final draft contained some unprecedented agreements:

Countries would be committed to keeping the rise in global temperatures by the year 2100 compared with pre-industrial times "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and "endeavor to limit" them even more, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That was a key demand of poor countries ravaged by the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

They would also be committed to limiting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.

However, the New York Times cautioned that there were still some sticking points, especially when it came to the treatment of poorer nations:

[A]s details of the plan emerged, some developing nations expressed consternation. Poorer countries had pushed for a legally binding provision requiring that rich countries appropriate a minimum of $100 billion a year to help them mitigate and adapt to the ravages of climate change. In the final deal, that $100 billion figure appears only in a preamble, not in what would be the legally binding portion of the agreement.

Some major environmental groups said that, while the deal is a leap forward, it does not do enough. Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo wrote that the accord "won’t dig us out the hole we’re in, but it makes the sides less steep," adding:

“Now comes the great task of this century. How do we meet this new goal? The measures outlined in Paris simply do not get us there. We have a 1.5 degree wall to climb, but the ladder isn’t long enough. The emissions targets on the table aren’t big enough, and the deal doesn’t do enough to change that. The new goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century effectively means we need to phase out fossil fuels - the easiest to cut - by 2050.


The protests on Saturday echoed that call to do more than the deal sets out. Though the French government had banned earlier demonstrations, it allowed this one to go forward.

Demonstrators formed "red lines" throughout Paris to symbolize the limits that the planet can take. They converged on icons such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.


Fusion's Tim Pool was in Paris and filmed the protesters. Watch his video below and see more pictures of the demonstrations.