Paris Agreement: Overview
The Paris Agreement is a landmark agreement reached at COP 21* in Paris on 12 December 2015 to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future.
The Paris Agreement builds upon the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the Agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework need to be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
Further information on the key aspects and essential elements of the Agreement can be found here.
*The Conference of the Parties (COP) acts as the decision-making body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)
At the heart of the Paris Agreement are the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through their NDCs and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.
Further information on NDCs can be found here.
Starting in 2023 and then every five years, governments will take stock of the implementation of the Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and its long-term goals. The outcome of the global stocktake (GST) will inform the preparation of subsequent NDCs, in order to allow for increased ambition and climate action to achieve the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.
Status of Ratification
On 4 November 2016, the Paris Agreement, in accordance with article 21(1), entered into force thirty days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
As of August 2019, the Paris Agreement has been signed by 195 Parties and ratified or otherwise joined by 179 Parties representing 89% of global emissions. However, on 1 June 2017, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Agreement.
Further information on the status of ratification can be found here.