Paris Agreement on Climate Change
The Paris Climate Change Agreement is an international, legally binding agreement on climate change. It aims to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C relative to the pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts by which warning could be limited to below 1.5°C. The Agreement was concluded on 12 December 2015 and it entered into force on 4 November 2016.
The Paris Agreement supplements the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded in 1992.
Objectives of the Paris Agreement
The objective of the Paris Agreement is to turn global greenhouse gas emissions into a decrease as soon as possible. The aim is also to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions and the sinks that sequester carbon in the second half of this century.
Besides the emission reduction targets, the Agreement sets a long-term objective concerning climate change adaptation and the objective to adjust money flows towards decarbonisation and climate change resilient development.
The progress in relation to the objectives is to be reviewed every five years. The first global review, or ‘stocktake’ will take place in 2023.
To achieve the objective of the Paris Agreement, all Parties should take ambitious measures that will be further intensified to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, increase climate funding, develop and transfer technologies, strengthen operational capabilities and enhance transparency. The Paris Agreement does not include any quantitative emission reduction obligations, but the Parties commit to the preparation, communication, maintenance and achievement of their successive national goals concerning emissions. The Parties are obliged to prepare their national contributions every five years, and the most recent goal must always be more ambitious than the previous one.
The national commitments declared by the Parties will be deposited in the public register maintained by the UNFCCC Secretariat and they are available in a temporary register also kept by the UNFCCC Secretariat.
Implementation of the Paris Agreement
The Rulebook concerning the implementation of the Paris Agreement was adopted at the Katowice Climate Change Conference in 2018 and finalised at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference in 2021. The rules are comprehensive and common to all, while also allowing certain limited flexibilities for the developing countries.
The matters covered by the Rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement include:
- implementation of the mechanism, i.e. global review or ‘stocktake’, to boost the achievement of the emission reduction targets,
- further instructions on the national contribution,
- guidance for reporting, inspections and assessment,
- rules for reporting on climate funding,
- implementation concerning technology development and transfer,
- guidance for communications on adaptation,
- modalities and procedures for the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance, and
- rules for the market mechanisms covered by the agreement.
Successful implementation of the Paris Agreement requires that all countries step up their climate policies - the emission reduction targets and measures declared so far will not be enough to limit the temperature rise in line with the objective set in the Agreement.