The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
In November and December 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC COP21) took place in Paris. UNFCC is an international environmental agreement on climate change, of which there are 195 States Parties. The agreement is due to come into force in 2020.
Some key points of the agreement:
Mitigation: reducing emissions. Governments agreed:
- A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
- To aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
- On the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
- To undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.
Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (National Determined Contributions – NDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this target.
Transparency and global stock take. Governments agreed to:
- Come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science;
- Report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets;
- Track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.
Adaptation. Governments agreed to:
- Strengthen societies’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change;
- Provide continued and enhanced international support for adaptation to developing countries.
Loss and damage. The agreement also:
- Recognizes the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change;
- Acknowledges the need to cooperate and enhance the understanding, action and support in different areas such as early warning systems, emergency preparedness and risk insurance.
- The EU and other developed countries will continue to support climate action to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries.
- Other countries are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.
- Developed countries intend to continue their existing collective goal to mobilize USD 100 billion per year until 2025 when a new collective goal will be set.
For more information, see UNFCCC website and e-handbook (explanation) on the Paris Agreement
You might be interested in these resources:
- Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030
- Sustainable Development Agenda (2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)