Paris climate agreement – what, when, and why

The year was 1979 when the first-ever climate conference took place under the guidance of the UN, emphasizing the importance and the need for measures to preserve the climatic conditions. Climate change has always been a topic of interest, or rather concern, across the world. With the greenhouse emissions and other issues clouding the horizon, there is an increasing need to find solutions.

IPCC – what you need to know

In the year 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up. The committee was set up for providing scientific assessments on the global climate changes to the world. The committee is an intergovernmental body that works under the United Nations and provides a transparent and relevant information on the risks of climatic changes induced by humans to the world. There are nearly 194 countries as part of the IPCC, representing the “Panel” of the committee.

The documents and the assessment provided by IPCC are reviewed by the governments of the world, and a necessary plan of action is chartered based on the same.

UNFCCC comes into the picture

Since the setup of the IPCC, there have been several climate conferences scheduled and conducted across the world, with more and more countries sharing their views and concerns on global climatic changes. Every time, an agreement is signed between the countries to reinforce certain regulations and to bring forth a change that will help in dealing with climate changes.

At one of the summits, the Earth Summit, which happened in Rio, was the first time the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) was signed. The UNFCCC came into force in the year 1994, and in the following year of 1995, the first-ever Conference of Parties referred to as COP, took place in Berlin to discuss the world climatic changes.

Over the years, many frameworks and agreements have been signed, pledges taken, some binding and some non-binding, by all the world countries to combat the rising challenges of climate change.

Paris climate agreement- when and why?

It was the COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris under UNFCCC in the year 2015, which made a historic landmark on climate change. The representatives from 195 nations from around the globe were part of the convention and agreed upon bringing in changes that will effectively combat climate change and the need and ways to adapt to the impact of climate change.

The agreement’s objective is to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the same while also targeting to decrease the rise in temperature across the globe. All the countries which are listed out to be the major emitters have committed to reducing and taken the resolve to alter the pollution levels in their regions.

The developed nations and the developing countries will be working together to create a transparent monitoring framework and reporting about the collective goals of the countries along with their individual efforts.

While the agreement was initially brought in 2015, it wasn’t until November 2016 when it finally came into effect. This was because the agreement needed at least 55 nations with more than 55% of emissions to join forces. The USA formally joined the agreement in September of 2016, after which the agreement was brought into force in a couple of months.

Countries across the world, all 197 of them have adopted this agreement, of which 179 have already put forth their proposals with approvals.

So what does the Paris climate agreement actually entail?

Summarizing the Paris climate agreement

  • Limiting the rise in global temperature by means of reducing the emissions from greenhouse
  • Measures to monitor, verify, and report of the progress made by a country towards their target of reducing emissions.
  • Plan for developed countries to support the developing nations financially in building resilience to the change in climatic conditions.

With a world comprising of nearly 200 countries, it is not always that you see them coming together to agree upon something. With the Paris climate agreement, you would see that all the world countries agreed that human behavior is driving climate change, and it is a serious threat to the global environment. The agreement came upon the consensus that human behavior causes global warming, which results in climate changes, further endangering the health of humans.

It is only by acknowledging and addressing climate change we can look at building a sustainable and healthy future world. And the Paris climate agreement is the first step towards the many we are taking, as a world, to rebuild the environment.