Good news: The Paris climate change talks have given us a long-shot chance to save the planet

Transparency is key to making sure all this remains on track, with countries reporting their emissions accurately. But nations like China resisted imposed rules for transparency, so the deal allows for “built-in flexibility.” For the first time, though, it does require all nations to regularly report on their emissions breakdown by source, just in a “non-intrusive” way.

In the end, Paris did about what was expected. It didn’t actually create a future in which the world stays well below 2 degrees. Nor did it truly address the fate to which rich nations have doomed small, vulnerable ones—inclusion of the 1.5 degree goal and a mention of “climate justice” was a gesture, but rich countries refused to pay for loss and damage caused by climate change.

One thing you’ll hear a lot of in coming weeks is that Paris will send “signals” and “create momentum” toward further climate action. While such statements may sound like vague talking points (and they are), they also capture how important the coming months and years will be to determining the conference’s success. Paris was a solid start.