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If there was one key success that anyone who took part in the Paris Climate Conference or who watched from the side-lines felt, it was enthusiasm for a deal. The despondence of previous conferences was replaced by a more optimistic tone that an effective solution to climate change was possible in the near future.

It is not important that the deal was not legally binding except that national governments were required to implement their own INDC’s (Individually Determined National Contributions). Climate Change is now explained as much as an economic opportunity as it is a risk and because of this shift we can approach the subject with renewed energy and excitement.

A number of important announcements were made: that more money was made available for adaptation; that ‘damage and loss’ entered the lexicon and that many new side agreements were announced.

Perhaps the most significant development was the inclusion of a 1.5 degree Celsius target for maximum warming in the final text. This brings an effective climate deal within reach, where before Paris it was still an uncertainty. Allowing for a 2 degree increase would allow for business as usual for the next decade; a 1.5 degree target requires a drastic climate shift. This 1.5 target, while not the formal premise for a future deal, is a useful inclusion and a sign that climate science is finally being taken seriously.

Renewable energy is here to stay. It’s getting cheaper and its sources more diverse. This is encouraging for all interested in climate, energy and environment politics. It is now up to individual countries as to how they choose to use the broad renewable energy portfolio. Here in the UK we are well placed to move towards a renewable energy economy but it needs more support from the ground up if it is ever really to take off.

Also highlighted in Paris was how fossil fuels have extra costs borne by society (which are quantifiable) as seen with the smog caused by the burning of coal which affects China, India and the other developing countries trying to develop on the cheap. Pollution is often a break on growth and prosperity as well as being a cause for social discontent. It has consequences even in the UK. With so many new technologies for providing clean energy and policies that promote the efficient use of resources there is now an enthusiasm for an energy transition that goes beyond the developed world.

Much of the enthusiasm that comes with advances in renewables is the problem of storage. The showcasing of solutions to this which are both socially dynamic (using electric car batteries as a mobile storage grid for instance) and environmentally benign in that they don’t rely on increasing pumped storage. What was shown to the world at Paris and in the build up to the conference suggests that working with innovative new practices and deploying them in communities around the world will go hand in hand in creating a cleaner global economy.

The evidence for climate change has improved with the spate of extreme weather events and the emergence of a ‘super El Nino’ in December of 2015. For most people the science had already been settled. There will always be some who will never accept it but the recent evidence has probably helped to change some minds. We should be cheered by this even if it comes a decade too late for climate change mitigation, but at least adaptation will be cheaper than leaving it for future generations to have to deal with. Given that enthusiasm for climate change solutions is mounting we can look forward to a new era of cooperation, innovation and progress. Now the real work can begin.

Peter Kirby-Harris runs Bright Blue’s Energy and environment Think Forum.