The Paris Agreement - Why is it so important?
The Paris Agreement is the most vital international deal that is combating climate change. It has a central goal of limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial era— before the effects of climate change become catastrophic.
‘The Paris Agreement is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement’
The Paris Agreement is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement, adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21). Parties and the UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to speed up the actions and investments required for a sustainable future.
It brings all nations together to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. The agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising another 1 degree between now and 2100. The countries pledged to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by human activity.
The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs). This includes requirements that all Parties regularly report on their emissions and their efforts. There will also be a global stock take every five years to assess the collective progress.
The U.S.—the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases—formally withdrew from the U.N.'s 2015 Paris climate change agreement. The U.S. was central to negotiating the deal five years ago, as one of the planet's highest Greenhouse gas emitters under the Obama administration.
But in June 2017 President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement. The E.U. and China have since taken leading roles in U.N. negotiations since being abandoned by the U.S.
‘By chance, the U.S.’ formal exit date was the day after the 2020 presidential election—which Trump lost’
Under the terms of the agreement, countries have to wait four years to leave the deal officially. By chance, the U.S.’ formal exit date was the day after the 2020 presidential election—which Trump lost. Joe Biden previously said if elected, his administration would rejoin the Paris Agreement ‘in exactly 77 days’.
The Trump administration rolled back over 100 environmental and climate regulations and slashed funding for climate programs and research. In response to Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, more than 500 cities and counties across the U.S., and 25 state governors, formed a coalition, along with thousands of businesses, universities and others who are working to reduce emissions on a local level in line with the Paris agreement.
All parties in the deal should submit new emissions targets (NDCs)—before the next U.N. climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021. This year, on 12 December we will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. We must take responsibility and protect our planet and it's people from the threat of climate change. The science is clear and we must scale up action and work together to reduce the effects of climate change and to ensure a greener, more resilient future.