The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the historic Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015. This agreement is a legally binding treaty that aims to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a further ambition of pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius.
The Paris Agreement is significant because it is the first time that all 195 parties to the UNFCCC have committed to taking action to combat climate change. The agreement recognizes that all nations must take action to address the urgent threat of climate change and that action must be taken immediately.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country is required to submit a plan outlining how it intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), are not legally binding, but they are subject to a transparency and accountability framework that is designed to encourage countries to meet their commitments.
The Paris Agreement also includes provisions for finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building to support developing countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Developed countries are expected to provide financial support to developing countries to help them transition to low-carbon economies and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Since its adoption, the Paris Agreement has been ratified by 189 countries, including the United States. However, in 2017, the US government announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement. The withdrawal process takes several years to complete, and the US is set to officially leave the agreement on November 4, 2020.
Despite this setback, the Paris Agreement remains a critical step in global efforts to combat climate change. To achieve the aim of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, it is essential that all countries continue to take ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
In conclusion, the adoption of the Paris Agreement was a significant moment in the global fight against climate change. It provided a framework for collective action and demonstrated a commitment to take urgent and ambitious action to address the urgent threat of climate change. While the US withdrawal from the agreement is a setback, there is hope that other countries will lead the way in taking meaningful action to combat climate change and protect our planet for future generations.