Why Is the Paris Agreement so Monumental

Previous commitments could raise global temperatures by up to 2.7°C, but the agreement sets out a roadmap to accelerate progress. In fact, research clearly shows that the costs of climate inaction far outweigh the costs of reducing carbon pollution. A recent study suggests that if the United States fails to meet its Paris climate goals, it could cost the economy up to $6 trillion in the coming decades. A global failure to meet the NDCs currently set out in the agreement could reduce global GDP by more than 25% by the end of the century. At the same time, another study estimates that meeting – or even exceeding – the Paris targets through infrastructure investments in clean energy and energy efficiency could have huge global benefits – around $19 trillion. The authors of the agreement have built a timetable for withdrawal, which President Trump must follow – and prevent it from irreparably harming our climate. Professor John Shepherd of the National Centre for Oceanography at the University of Southampton says the deal contains welcome aspirations, but few people know how difficult it will be to achieve the goals. The 2015 agreement – a historic agreement signed by all nations of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and collectively limit global warming – is the most ambitious global climate agreement the world has ever seen. The Kyoto Protocol, a landmark environmental treaty adopted at COP3 in Japan in 1997, is the first time that countries have agreed on country-specific emission reduction targets that are legally mandated. The protocol, which only entered into force in 2005, set binding emission reduction targets only for developed countries, based on the assumption that they were responsible for most of the Earth`s high greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States first signed the agreement, but never ratified it; President George W. Bush argued that the deal would hurt the U.S. economy because it would not include developing countries such as China and India. Without the participation of these three countries, the effectiveness of the treaty proved limited, as its objectives covered only a small fraction of total global emissions. INDCs become NDCs – Nationally Determined Contributions – once a country formally accedes to the agreement. There are no specific requirements on how countries should reduce their emissions or to what extent, but there have been political expectations regarding the nature and severity of the targets set by different countries. As a result, national plans vary considerably in scope and ambition, largely reflecting each country`s capacities, level of development and contribution to emissions over time. China, for example, has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest and to reduce carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60 to 65 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. India has set a target of reducing emissions intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels and producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030. Following a campaign promise, Trump – a climate denier who claimed climate change was a “hoax” committed by China – announced in June 2017 his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. But despite the president`s statement from the rose garden that “we`re going out,” it`s not that easy. The withdrawal process requires the agreement to be in force for three years before a country can formally announce its intention to leave.

Then he will have to wait a year before leaving the pact. This means that the United States could officially leave on November 4, 2020 at the earliest, one day after the presidential election. Even a formal withdrawal would not necessarily be permanent, experts say; A future president could return to the board in just one month. President Trump is pulling us out of the Paris Climate Agreement. As a contribution to the objectives of the agreement, countries have submitted comprehensive Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points the way for further action. Recognizing that many developing countries and small island states that have contributed the least to climate change could suffer the most from its consequences, the Paris Agreement includes a plan for developed countries – and others that are “able to do so” – to continue to provide funds to help developing countries mitigate and increase their resilience to climate change. The agreement builds on financial commitments from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which aimed to increase public and private climate finance for developing countries to $100 billion a year by 2020. (To put this in perspective, global military spending in 2017 alone amounted to about $1.7 trillion, more than a third of which came from the United States.) The Copenhagen Compact also created the Green Climate Fund to help mobilize transformative financing with targeted public funds. The Paris Agreement set hope that the world would set a higher annual target by 2025 to build on the $100 billion target for 2020 and put in place mechanisms to achieve that scale. The Paris Agreement is a compact within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) among 197 countries that focuses largely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the effects of climate change and providing financial support to developing countries affected by climate change.

This is an important international agreement as we enter a new era of climate change, because the agreement shows that countries around the world with very different interests can come together to address common concerns that will affect us all. Since the election, the United States` commitment to the Paris Agreement has evolved, and the agreement entered into force at the convention`s first meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November. NRDC is working to make the Global Climate Action Summit a success by encouraging more ambitious commitments to the historic 2015 agreement and initiatives to reduce pollution. .

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