The text of the Paris Agreement was adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), which took place in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015.
Key features of the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change acknowledging that this will require a global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieving climate neutrality in the second half of this century. The Agreement has the following key features:
- It sets out a long term goal to put the world on track to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels – and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C; The aspirational goal of 1.5°C was agreed to drive greater ambition, and to highlight the concerns of the most vulnerable countries that are already experiencing the impacts of climate change.
- It sends a clear signal to all stakeholders, investors, businesses, civil society and policy-makers that the global transition to clean energy is here to stay and that resources have to shift away from fossil fuels; With 189 national climate plans covering some 98% of all emissions, tackling climate change is now become a truly global effort. With Paris, we are moving from action by a few to action by all.
- It provides a dynamic mechanism to take stock and strengthen ambition over time. Starting from 2023, Parties will come together every five years in a "global stocktake" to consider progress in emissions reductions, adaptation and support provided and received in view of the long-term goals of the Agreement.
- Parties have a legally binding obligation to pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of their contributions.
- It sets up an enhanced transparency and accountability framework, including the biennial submission by all Parties of greenhouse gas inventories and the information necessary to track their progress, a technical expert review, a facilitative, multilateral consideration of Parties' progress and mechanism to facilitate implementation of and promote compliance.
- It provides an ambitious solidarity package with adequate provisions on climate finance and on addressing needs linked to adaptation and loss and damage associated with adverse effects of climate change. To promote individual and collective action on adaptation, the Paris Agreement establishes for the first time a global goal with the aim to enhance capacity, climate resilience and reduce climate vulnerability. Internationally, it encourages greater cooperation among Parties to share scientific knowledge on adaptation as well as information on practices and policies.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, The Road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement and accompanying the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2.3.2016 COM(2016) 110 final, p. 3,4
Parties to the Convention include, among others, the European Union and its Member States.
Paris Agreement sets out a qualitative long-term emissions reduction goal in line with the objective to keep the global temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C.
In order to achieve this goal, the Parties will set or update emission reduction targets.
Starting from 2023, Parties will every 5 years undertake a global stocktake, based on the latest science and implementation to date, which will track progress and consider emission reductions, adaptation and support provided.
Paris Agreement has been opened for signature on the 22 April 2016 in New York, and enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of total greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
On 5 October, the EU formally ratified the Paris Agreement, thus enabling its entry into force on 4 November 2016.
Paris Agreement is the successor of the Kyoto Protocol. However, as opposite to the Kyoto Protocol (where all commitments of Annex B Parties were expressed as absolute economy wide multi-year emission budgets (top-down approach)), Paris agreement contributions are formulated bottom-up.
In the run up to COP21 in Paris Parties were asked to come forward with their intended post-2020 climate contributions (INDCs), which go beyond the current efforts of the respective Party.
The commitments made by all Parties in their INDCs may be expressed, in particular, as:
- a percentage change of emissions over time,
- a change in emission intensity, or
- a change relative to Business as Usual (BAU).
Moreover, Parties may use different target and/or base years.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides for international emissions trading between Parties and establishes a new market mechanism.
They are subject to robust markets accounting. the principle of no double counting.
The new element in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is the principle of no double counting.
Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement.
A mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development is hereby established under the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement for use by Parties on a voluntary basis. It shall be supervised by a body designated by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, and shall aim:
(a) To promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions while fostering sustainable development;
(b) To incentivize and facilitate participation in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by public and private entities authorized by a Party;
(c) To contribute to the reduction of emission levels in the host Party, which will benefit from mitigation activities resulting in emission reductions that can also be used by another Party to fulfil its nationally determined contribution; and
(d) To deliver an overall mitigation in global emissions.
European Commission‘s Press release -UN climate conference makes progress on Paris Agreement implementation, 18 November 2017
Commission report: Two years after Paris - Progress towards meeting the EU's climate commitments (November 2017)
European Commission's press release of 2 March 2016 Climate Action: Europe readies next steps to implement the Paris Agreement IP/16/502
Questions and answers on the Paris Agreement
Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2.3.2016 COM(2016) 62 final, 2016/0036 (NLE)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, The Road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement and accompanying the proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Paris agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2.3.2016 COM(2016) 110 final
Opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety for the Committee on Regional Development on the role of EU regions and cities in implementing the COP 21 Paris Agreement on climate change, 24.11.2017, (2017/2006(INI))
The Paris Agreement: A new framework for global climate action, EPRS Briefing, January 2016
European Commission's website on Paris agreement
Source of the attachment: the UNFCCC website