What is the Paris Agreement?
- The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
- Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
- To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.
- The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
Aims of the Paris Agreement
- As countries around the world recognized that climate change is a reality, they came together to sign a historic deal to combat climate change – Paris Agreement. The aims of the Paris Agreement is as below:
- Keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
- Pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
How does the Paris Agreement work?
- Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science. The Paris Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs)
- In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Countries also communicate in the NDCs actions they will take to build resilience to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.
- The contributions each country should make to achieve the worldwide goal are determined by that country and are called nationally determined contributions (NDC). requires them to be “ambitious”, “represent a progression over time” and set “with the view to achieving the purpose of this Agreement”.
- The contributions should be reported every five years and are to be registered by the UNFCCC Secretariat. Each further ambition should be more ambitious than the previous one, known as the principle of ‘progression’. Countries can cooperate and pool their nationally determined contributions.
India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)
- India’s INDC includes a reduction in the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- India has also pledged to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- India will anchor a global solar alliance, INSPA (International Agency for Solar Policy & Application), of all countries located in between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn
Long term Strategies
- To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the Paris Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit by 2020 long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).
- LT-LEDS provide the long-term horizon to the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory. Nevertheless, they place the NDCs into the context of countries’ long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.
Paris Agreement (2015) vs Kyoto Protocol (1997)
- Paris Agreement is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement. Although developed and developing countries were parties to the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries were not mandated to reduce their emissions.
- This means that while the Paris Agreement is legally binding to all parties, the Kyoto Protocol was not.
- Paris Agreement was reached on the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).
What have we achieved so far?
- Although climate change action needs to be massively increased to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the years since its entry into force have already sparked low-carbon solutions and new markets. More and more countries, regions, cities and companies are establishing carbon neutrality targets. Zero-carbon solutions are becoming competitive across economic sectors representing 25% of emissions. This trend is most noticeable in the power and transport sectors and has created many new business opportunities for early movers.
- By 2030, zero-carbon solutions could be competitive in sectors representing over 70% of global emissions.