The Paris Agreement: In focus (1)

The Paris Agreement: In focus (1)

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted on December 12, 2015, has set up a collective and transformational solution to this global challenge confronting rich and developing, the latter particularly, countries.

Adopted by 196 Parties at COP (Conference Of the Parties) 21 in Paris, in December 2015 and entered into force on November 4, 2016, its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 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 or by 2250.

Experts say there are signals that the framework provided by the Paris Agreement is working: the new generation of national climate pledges (also known as NDCs) are estimated to put the world on a ~2.5°C pathway compared to ~3.5°C just six years ago.

That means, if we continue to invest in NDCs, we may not need to choose between solving the energy crisis, the food security crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the climate crisis. Instead, we can invest in the transformation that tackles them all.

COP27, held this month in Egypt, was, according to some senior delegates, an opportunity to stand on the right side of history.

To deliver on the commitments made, people across the continents need to scale up their political will, and technical and financial support to drive the much-needed transformation toward net zero and climate-resilient pathways.

Climate change authorities have said the world has made promises through NDCs – now we must fulfill them.

How does the Paris Agreement work? Implementing the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.

The Agreement works on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. By 2020, countries will submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions 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.

Climatologists say to better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the Paris Agreement invited two years ago countries to formulate and submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).

LT-LEDS provides 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.

Following the Egypt Summit, we will see in the next few years if the countries are moving forward to address the challenges.


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