The Paris Agreement History: Understanding the World`s Most Important Climate Accord
The Paris Agreement, formally known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was adopted in December 2015. It is a legally binding agreement that aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and strive for a more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The history of the Paris Agreement goes back to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where countries agreed to work to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, which required developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Kyoto Protocol was not ratified by major emitters such as the United States, China, and India, making it largely ineffective in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2009, the Copenhagen Accord was drafted, which aimed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. However, the accord did not have the same legal binding as the Paris Agreement, and it was not ratified by the UNFCCC.
The Paris Agreement was negotiated during the 2015 UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris, France. It was adopted by all 196 parties to the UNFCCC, and came into force on November 4, 2016. The Paris Agreement is considered a landmark achievement in global climate diplomacy, as it is the first time that all nations have committed to taking action on climate change.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs) every five years, which outline their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These targets are not legally binding, but countries are required to report on their progress towards meeting their targets.
The Paris Agreement also established a mechanism for developed countries to provide financial and technical support to developing countries to help them mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The agreement also includes provisions for enhancing transparency and international cooperation on climate change.
Despite the global consensus on the need to address climate change, the Paris Agreement has faced some challenges. In 2017, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement, citing economic concerns. However, the US officially rejoined the Paris Agreement in February 2021, following the election of President Joe Biden.
The Paris Agreement is crucial in addressing the urgent need to limit global warming and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It represents a historic achievement in global climate diplomacy, and its implementation will be critical in achieving a sustainable future for all.