The Paris Climate Agreement: Is It The Solution To Climate Change?

The Paris Climate Agreement is a legally binding international treaty that was coined at the United Nations climate change conference on December 12th, 2015. However, it did not come into effect until November 4th, 2016. 190 Countries plus the European Union adopted the Agreement. The main purpose of the Paris Agreement is to set long-term goals to globally reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce global temperatures; the aim is to limit the global temperature to a maximum of 2°, but hoping to achieve 1.5°.

In the long run, the Paris Climate Agreement is working to obtain net-zero emissions internationally, although there are many steps to be taken before they reach this goal. Many key aspects create the Paris Agreement, but arguably one of the most important ones is found in Article 9 of the Agreement which covers the financial element surrounding the Agreement. A fundamental part of the Paris Agreement is that it is expected and encouraged by more developed countries to take the lead and assist developing countries financially. This is one of the most important aspects of the Agreement because the industrial changes each country needs to make are costs that a developing nation simply wouldn’t be able to do without assistance. Therefore, without this financial assistance in place, many countries would not be able to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement.

Each country is monitored every five years with Nationally Determined Contributions, the countries will have to report actions that they will be taking to reduce their emissions to meet the required goals of the Paris Agreement. It will also be required to explain what they will be doing as a country to adapt to the effects of climate change that we are already currently facing as a result of the recent rise in global temperature. It is important to acknowledge that even though it is crucial to work to lower global temperatures, it’s equally important that countries work to adapt to the challenges that are present and will be expected to increase in the coming years. Along with National Determined Contributions, it is encouraged by the Paris Agreement for countries to construct and suggest long-term strategies to help achieve the long-term goals, however, it is not mandatory.

Starting in 2024, countries will have to participate in the enhanced transparency framework which will be used to track the progress of the parties in the Paris Climate Agreement. This differs from the Nationally Determined Contributions because countries will have to report on the actions they successfully took, progress they made in climate change mitigation, their adaptation measures, and the support they either provided or received from other parties. The data gathered from these reports will be used for the Global Stocktake which evaluates our global progress towards the desired climate goals. This will help give a clear and concise view of the progress towards the desired goals and will allow for adjustments to be made to the Paris Climate Agreement accordingly.