While African leaders also called upon high emitting countries to drastically cut their emissions, current pledges indicate global heating could soar to 2.4C. The World Meteorological Organisation has warned that scenarios ranging from a 1°C to a 4°C increase relative to pre-industrial levels could reduce the continent’s overall GDP by 2.25% to 12.12%.

In a bid to keep the 1.5C target alive, the pact has requested countries to increase their ambition on cuts by next year.

However, for the first time, the deal has committed to phase out some fossil fuels subsidies and reduce coal. South Africa, one of the top coal producers in the world, will receive $8.5 billion to transition to renewable energy.

$1.5 billion has similarly been pledged to protect and restore the Congo Basin, which is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world and absorbs 4% of global carbon emissions annually. This is part of the wider deal by 100 nations to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.

“We must acknowledge that although this has been a fragile, imperfect agreement, progress has been made,” said Prabhat Upadhyaya, Senior Policy Analyst, WWF South Africa. “A lot of contentious issues were resolved.”

As the pact has been hailed as a ‘fragile win,’ eyes are already turning towards next year’s COP in Egypt.

“We are delighted that it will be in Africa – and it is already being called the adaptation COP,” Wanjira Mathai, vice president and regional director for Africa at World Resources Institute told Quartz. “We are hopeful that the issues important to vulnerable countries will get more prominence and visibility there.”

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