What is the Paris Agreement (COP 21) for Climate Change?

The Paris Agreement is a multilateral agreement to combat climate change and its adverse effects. The agreement was signed on 22 April 2016.
Created On: Oct 28, 2020 17:51 IST
Modified On: Oct 29, 2020 16:36 IST
Paris Agreement
Paris Agreement

MSCI has launched eight indices for the institutional investors to position their portfolios as per the Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees. Earlier, at the UN General Assembly, China renewed its support for the Paris Agreement and called for a 'Green Focus'. The US President Donald Trump, announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by November 2020. 

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement (also known as Conference of Parties 21 or COP 21) is a multilateral agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to combat climate change and its adverse effects. 

Aim of the Paris Agreement

1- The Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature increase in this century below 2°C above pre-industrial levels while making efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C by 2100.

2- The agreement aims to help and support the countries that are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. 

3- It also aims at providing financial and technological support to the developing countries to adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy. 

What are the 20/20/20 targets of the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement aims to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by 20% and targets to increase the renewable energy market share and energy efficiency by 20% each. 

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)

The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) refer to the contributions which need to be made by each country to achieve the target globally. The contributions made must be reported to UNFCCC every 5 years. The contributions are not legally binding on any country.

Adoption of the Agreement 

The Agreement was adopted in Paris, France on 12 December 2015, and the agreement was signed on April 22, 2016, to reduce the emission of gasses contributing to global warming. At present, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the Paris Agreement. The agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol, a similar agreement to combat climate change. 

Financial Support Pledge during COP 21

1- During the Paris Agreement, the developed countries committed $100 Billion a year.

2- For the launch of CREWS (Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems) initiative and Climate Risk Insurance, the G7 countries announced USD 420 Million. 

G7 countries

It includes 7 countries, namely, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries meet annually to discuss several issues including global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.

India at the COP 21

1- India stated that rapid growth is required to meet the requirements of the 1.25 Billion population of the globe. Out of this, 300 Million people still do not have access to energy. 

2- Despite the increasing demands, India pledged to limit the emissions intensity per unit GDP by 33-35% of 2005 levels. 

3- India also aims to reach 40% of the installed capacity via non-fossil fuels. 

4- By the year 2022, India targets 175 GW of renewable energy generation. 

5- India set a goal to increase forest cover to absorb 2.5 Billion tonnes worth of carbon dioxide.

Difference between the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement

Paris Agreement Kyoto Protocol
1- No difference between developed and developing nations.  1- There was a differentiation between the developed and the developing nations. 
2- Countries announce their next round of targets every five years.  2- No such specific announcement of targets was made.   


In 1992, Earth Summit was held in Brazil where the countries entered into an international treaty known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted and legally bounded the developed countries to reduce the emission targets. However, this agreement didn't work out as the top two polluter countries in the world, China and the US didn't participate. 

At that time, China being a developing nation didn't participate and the US officials used this fact to justify their non-participation. 

At the COP17, negotiations for the Paris Agreement started in Durban, South Africa to create a new, comprehensive, and legally binding climate treaty by 2015. The treaty was to include major Carbon emitters to limit and reduce their emissions of Carbon and gases leading to global warming. 

The Paris agreement was open for signatures from April 22, 2016, to April 21, 2017, came into force on November 4, 2016.

Do you know?

China is the biggest polluter in the world accounting for a quarter of the Earth's greenhouse-gas-emissions. 

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