Key Aspects of the Paris Agreement

Under the agreement, countries must implement national adaptation planning processes and activities, including vulnerability assessment and resilience building. Small island states, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change, have lobbied to include the responsibility of developed countries for loss and damage suffered as a result of the consequences of climate change. The agreement contained a reference to this issue, but did not establish any legal liability or right to compensation. While avoided deforestation was controversial and generally excluded in UN climate policy, the Paris Agreement included an explicit provision on REDD+, which represents a breakthrough in how forests have been treated in the past. Parties are encouraged to engage in activities related to REDD+ and „alternative policy approaches (…) for holistic and sustainable forest management“. This is the first comprehensive climate agreement in the world in which all countries should participate. The final text of the Paris Agreement – considered the world`s first universal climate agreement – is 31 pages long. While the plenary agreed on the final draft on Saturday afternoon, it now needs to be ratified. 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. The authors of the agreement have incorporated a timetable for withdrawal that President Trump must follow – to prevent it from irreparably harming our climate. Financing is essential to support emerging economies and support the transition to carbon-free economies.

The agreement stipulates that from 2020, $100 billion in public and private funds will have to be raised each year to finance projects that will allow countries to adapt to the effects of climate change (sea level rise, droughts, etc.) or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These funds should be gradually increased and some developing countries will also be able to become donors on a voluntary basis to help the poorest countries. 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. 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 „capable of doing so“ – to continue to provide financial resources to help developing countries mitigate climate change 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 Pact also created the Green Climate Fund to support the mobilisation of transformation finance with targeted public funds. The Paris Agreement established 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 expected to enter into force in 2020 (replacing the Kyoto Protocol).

I would like to highlight seven key points that you may not be familiar with that could contribute to a better understanding of the agreement: in 1992, President George H.W. Bush called on 107 other heads of state at the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, to adopt a number of environmental agreements, including the UNFCCC framework, which is still in force today. The international treaty aims to prevent dangerous human interference in Earth`s climate systems in the long term. The Pact does not set greenhouse gas emission limits for individual countries and does not include enforcement mechanisms, but creates a framework for international negotiations on future agreements or protocols to set binding emission targets. .