Paris Agreement

Updated: Feb 13


Summary & Quick Facts

Paris Agreement, Green Firebreak, Climate Change, Greenhouse gases
December 2015, Paris (AFP Photo/PATRICK KOVARIK)

One of the first things the Paris Agreement requests is to recognise “the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge”.

It also acknowledges “that climate change is a common concern of humankind”.

Notes “the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity.”

Affirms “the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation”. And for last, recognises “that sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production (…) play an important role addressing climate change.”

Paris Agreement, Green Firebreak, Climate Change, Greenhouse gases

Establishes that the global average temperature should stay well below 2°C pre-industrial levels[2], and efforts should be pursued in order to limit the increase to 1.5°C pre-industrial levels. (Article 2, Paragraph 1 (a) and (b))

It also indicates that developed country Parties should be at the vanguard, nevertheless, they still have the duty to support developing country Parties. (Article 3; Article 4, paragraph 4)

It determines that the countries which signed the Agreement “shall promote environmental integrity, transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability and consistency”. As well as, having into consideration countries economies that might get affected by the impact of those new measures. (Article 4, Paragraph 13 and 15)

Attests to the fact that big actions reduce the need for bigger actions and that these bigger actions can come with bigger costs. (Article 7, Paragraph 4)

Indicates that developed country Parties should financially support, developing ones with respect to mitigation and adaptation. (Article 9, Paragraph 1)

Establishes “A mechanism to facilitate implementation of and promote compliance with the provisions of this agreement” that “shall be expert-base and facilitate in nature and function in a manner that is transparent, non-adversarial and non-punitive” (Article 15)

Quick facts

The Paris Agreement:

  • was signed by 195 countries.

  • was adopted in December 2015, in Paris.

  • was signed in April 2016, at the UN headquarters, New York.

  • enter into force in November 2016.

  • is a nonbinding agreement, which means the countries who signed it are not legally obligated to carry it out. Instead, sets the intention to do so.

  • words like “fossil fuel”, “plastic” and “oil” do not appear.

In Conclusion

It’s a good sign that the majority of UN Members States came to a consensus, however, this Agreement doesn’t come with a how-to kind of guide. Every country is left, pretty much, to their own devices.

Needless is to say that “the best available scientific knowledge” exists, we’re just actively choosing to look the other way.

Also, the huge plastic crisis that the world is going through right now is highly forgotten.

[1] Paris Agreement [2] Defining a true 'pre-industrial' climate period - BBC News