The Paris Agreement: What It Deals With and Why It Matters
In December 2015, 195 countries came together in Paris to sign the historical Paris Agreement. The agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, with the goal of pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). But what exactly does the Paris Agreement deal with, and why is it so important?
Dealings with Emissions Reductions
First and foremost, the Paris Agreement deals with emissions reductions. Countries that sign the agreement must submit their own nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These NDCs must be updated and submitted every five years, starting from 2020. The agreement also encourages countries to pursue efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in the second half of the century.
Dealings with Adaptation
The Paris Agreement also deals with adaptation to the impacts of climate change, recognizing that even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, there will still be adverse impacts. The agreement aims to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience, and reduce vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Dealings with Finance
The Paris Agreement also deals with finance, recognizing that the poorest and most vulnerable countries are the ones who suffer the most from climate change, despite being the least responsible for causing it. Developed countries must provide financial resources to help developing countries with their mitigation and adaptation efforts. The agreement also aims to make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
Why It Matters
The Paris Agreement matters because climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face as a global community. The impacts of climate change are already being felt, from more frequent and intense droughts and heatwaves to rising sea levels and ocean acidification. The Paris Agreement provides a framework for global cooperation in addressing this challenge.
The agreement also matters because it signals a shift towards a low-carbon future. Governments, businesses, and individuals are starting to recognize the economic benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. This includes job creation, technological innovation, and energy security.
The Paris Agreement deals with emissions reductions, adaptation, and finance, and is a critical step towards addressing the challenge of climate change. Although the agreement is not perfect and more needs to be done, it provides a framework for global cooperation and signals a shift towards a low-carbon future. It is up to all of us to keep pushing for progress towards a more sustainable and resilient world.