Kyoto Protocol, 2005. The Kyoto Protocol [PDF], adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, was the first legally binding climate agreement. It required developed countries to reduce their emissions by an average of 5 per cent compared to 1990 levels and to set up a system to monitor countries` progress. But the treaty did not force developing countries, including major carbon emitters China and India, to act. The United States signed the agreement in 1998, but never ratified it and then withdrew its signature. It is rare that there is consensus among almost all nations on a single issue. But with the Paris Agreement, world leaders agreed that climate change is driven by human behavior, that it poses a threat to the environment and all of humanity, and that global action is needed to stop it. It also created a clear framework for all countries to make emission reduction commitments and strengthen these measures over time. Here are some key reasons why the agreement is so important: The Paris Agreement provides a sustainable framework that guides global efforts for decades to come. The aim is to increase countries` climate ambitions over time. To this end, the agreement provides for two review processes, each to be carried out in a five-year cycle.
First, it`s too inclusive. This is not a politically correct feeling in multilateral circles, but it is a reality. Historically, the UNFCCC has worked on the so-called „hard consensus“ rule, which meant reaching unanimity to reach an agreement. This led to the absurd consequence of a deal negotiated by President Obama in Copenhagen, negotiated with China, India, Brazil and South Africa, which received support from the EU and many other countries – in short, a deal that captured more than 90% of global carbon emissions – blocked by these titans of economic power. Bolivia and Venezuela. It is not a democratic system, as its supporters claim; it is the tyranny of the (tiny) minority. The United States, the world`s second-largest emitter, is the only country to withdraw from the deal, a move by President Donald J. Trump, which went into effect in November 2020. Other countries that have not officially accepted the deal include Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which sets legally binding emission reduction targets (as well as sanctions for non-compliance) only for developed countries, the Paris Agreement requires all countries – rich, poor, developed and developing – to do their part and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, greater flexibility is built into the Paris Agreement: the commitments that countries should make are not otherwise worded, countries can voluntarily set their emission targets (NDCs) and countries are not subject to any penalty if they do not meet the proposed targets.
What the Paris Agreement requires, however, is monitoring, reporting, and reassessing countries` individual and collective goals over time in order to bring the world closer to the broader goals of the agreement. And the agreement stipulates that countries must announce their next set of targets every five years – unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which aimed at that target but did not contain a specific requirement to achieve it. 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. President Obama was able to formally include the United States in the international agreement through executive action, as he did not impose any new legal obligations on the country. The United States already has a number of instruments in the books that have already been passed by Congress to reduce carbon pollution. The country formally acceded to the agreement in September 2016 after submitting its proposal for participation. The Paris Agreement could only enter into force after at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions had formally acceded to it.
This happened on October 5, 2016 and the agreement entered into force 30 days later, on October 4, 2016. November 2016. 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 CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest and to reduce CO2 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 by 2030 and producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil sources. The agreement contains commitments from all countries to reduce their emissions and work together to adapt to the effects of climate change and calls on countries to strengthen their commitments over time. The agreement provides a way for developed countries to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts, while providing a framework for transparent monitoring and reporting on countries` climate goals. Since Trump`s announcement, US envoys have continued to participate in UN climate negotiations – as required – to solidify the details of the deal.
Meanwhile, thousands of leaders across the country have stepped in to fill the void created by the lack of federal climate leadership, reflecting the will of the vast majority of Americans who support the Paris Agreement. There has been a wave of participation among city and state officials, business leaders, universities, and individuals in initiatives such as America`s Pledge, the U.S. Climate Alliance, We Are Still In, and the American Cities Climate Challenge. Complementary and sometimes overlapping movements aim to deepen and accelerate efforts to combat climate change at local, regional and national levels. Each of these efforts is focused on the U.S. working toward the goals of the Paris Agreement, despite Trump`s attempts to steer the country in the opposite direction. As a contribution to the objectives of the agreement, countries have submitted comprehensive national climate protection plans (nationally defined contributions, NDCs). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points the way for further action. Climate change is a global emergency that transcends national borders. This is an issue that requires coordinated solutions at all levels and international cooperation to help countries move towards a low-carbon economy. President Trump is pulling us out of the Paris Climate Agreement.