Paris Agreement on Climate Change
The Paris Agreement is an international, legally binding agreement on climate change. Its aim is to keep the average global warming rise well below two degrees relative to pre-industrial times and to strive for measures to limit the warming to below 1.5 degrees. The agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
The agreement supplements the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded in 1992.
Objectives of the Paris Agreement
The objective of the Paris Agreement is to reverse global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. Another goal is to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions and sinks that sequester carbon in the second half of this century.
Besides the emission reduction targets, the agreement sets a long-term target concerning climate change adaptation and the target to direct money flows towards climate-sustainable development and low-carbon economies.
Pursuant to the agreement, progress in relation to the set objectives will be reviewed every five years. The first global stocktake will take place in 2023.
All parties to the Paris Agreement should take ambitious measures that will be further intensified to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, increase climate funding, boost technology develop and transfer, 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 respective national emission targets. Nationally determined contributions must be updated every five years, and the most recent target must always be more ambitious than the previous one.
The contributions declared by the parties will be recorded in the public register maintained by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The nationally determined contributions made so far are available in a temporary register also kept by the UNFCCC.
Implementation of the Paris Agreement
The Rulebook concerning the implementation of the Paris Agreement was adopted at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice in December 2018. The rules are comprehensive and common to all, while also allowing certain flexibilities for the developing countries:
With respect to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Rulebook covers the following
• 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 the reporting inspections and assessment,
• rules for reporting on climate funding,
• implementation concerning technology development and transfer,
• guidance for adaptation communication and
• modalities and procedures for the committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance.
Negotiations on the implementation of the market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement will continue.
Successful implementation of the Paris Agreement requires that all parties step up their climate policies, as the emission reduction targets and measures declared by the parties so far are not enough to limit the rise in temperature in such a way that the objective will be met.