As a contribution to the objectives of the agreement, countries have submitted comprehensive national climate protection plans (nationally defined contributions, NDCs). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement charts the way forward. From 30 November to 11 December 2015, France hosted representatives from 196 countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, one of the largest and most ambitious global climate meetings ever held. The goal was nothing less than a binding, universal agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C (3.6°F) above the baseline temperature set before the start of the Industrial Revolution. We are Still In is an ad hoc agreement with 3,500 signatories expressing support for the Paris Agreement, and according to its website, these signatories “represent a group of more than half of all Americans, and together they represent $6.2 trillion, an economy larger than any nation other than the United States or China.” In addition, the agreement completely ignores a significant source of greenhouse gases from aviation and shipping, accounting for about 10% of current global emissions and expected to account for about 20% of total emissions over the next decade. Desperately but unserpnded, the EU tried to bring this issue back to the negotiating table in 2015, but failed to convince most countries to join it. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established a broad legal structure for global cooperation that should make future agreements more specific. Paris has done no such thing. But let`s take a closer look at this new universal climate agreement. These transparency and accountability provisions are similar to those in other international agreements.
While the system does not include financial sanctions, the requirements are intended to easily track each nation`s progress and foster a sense of global peer pressure, which discourages any hesitation between countries that might consider doing so. Concrete. In Paris, countries adopted two long-term goals. A temperature target to limit global warming to less than 2°C and aim for 1.5°C. A difference of 0.5°C is significant and an increase of more than 1.5°C could mean for many countries that their land or part of it will become habitable before the end of this century. And a second goal of net-zero emissions by the second half of this century, between 2050 and 2100. To achieve these two long-term goals, a mechanism has been agreed in which all countries will present their greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies every five years from 2020. Five years is short enough to ensure that governments act as often as they are caught up in short-term solutions that coincide with election cycles. The wording of the agreement allows developing countries to further increase their emissions, but at a lower level than the “status quo”, also depending on the support they receive from rich countries.
The result is a Paris agreement full of sound and anger of good intentions, but not much else. It is comforting, for example, that Paris has approved the new temperature target of 1.5°C. But what`s not in the deal is an indication of how this could be achieved. .