Important Topic: Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Important Topics for Competitive Exams


Important Topic

The Paris climate agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.

As of February 2018, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, and 175 have become party to it. The Agreement aims to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping a 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. In the Paris Agreement, each country determines, plans and regularly reports its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming.

There is no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets. In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement. The Paris Agreement has a 'bottom up' structure in contrast to most international environmental law treaties which are 'top down', characterised by standards and targets set internationally, for states to implement.

Unlike its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, which sets commitment targets that have legal force, the Paris Agreement, with its emphasis on consensus-building, allows for voluntary and nationally determined targets. The specific climate goals are thus politically encouraged, rather than legally bound. Only the processes governing the reporting and review of these goals are mandated under international law.



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