The Paris Agreement constitutes a political success in climate negotiations and traditional state diplomacy, and offers important implications for academic research. Based on participatory research, the article examines the political dynamics in Paris and highlights features of the process that help us understand the outcome. It describes battles on key contentious issues behind closed doors, provides a summary and evaluation of the new agreement, identifies political winners and losers, and offers theoretical explanations of the outcome. The analysis emphasizes process variables and underscores the role of persuasion, argumentation, and organizational strategy. Climate diplomacy succeeded because the international conversation during negotiations induced cognitive change. Persuasive arguments about the economic benefits of climate action altered preferences in favor of policy commitments at both national and international levels.