What is the Paris Agreement? Five-year analysis, Climate Change and way ahead

It has been 5 years since the Paris Agreement and the impact of climate change was to be analysed now and implementation strategies are now under a microscope- Know the significance of Paris Agreement, its effect on Climate Change here
Created On: Dec 14, 2020 12:45 IST
Modified On: Dec 14, 2020 13:26 IST
Climate Change and Paris Agreemnet
Climate Change and Paris Agreemnet

Why In News?

It has been 5 years since the Paris Agreement and the impact of climate change was to be analysed now and implementation strategies were to be checked. Now that the world is fighting a raging viral pandemic, it is the right time to take stock of what was agreed and what needs to be done.

Past Five Year Report

  1. In the past five years, the world has suffered enough catastrophic events and weather conditions. The breakout of the virus which has resulted in a pandemic all over the world is the cherry on the cake of disasters. Every single life form on earth has been affected by this be it zoological or botanical. 
  2. Climate change is real and now the world is seeing the devastating impacts.  The global temperatures are on a rise, on average is just 1.2 degree Celsius since the 1880s. This is expected to go to 3°C or more by this century end. 
  3. This year global emissions may have reduced marginally because of COVID-19, but this situation is temporary. The United Nations Environment Environment Programme’s, UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2020 informed that global GHG emissions have continued to rise between 2016-19. In 2019 emissions were a record high.

India and Paris Agreement

India has not only achieved its targets but has exceeded them beyond expectations as per the Prime Minister. He delivered a virtual speech at the Climate Ambition Summit that India has reduced its global emissions by 21 per cent compared to 2005 and is on its way to do more. 

What is the Paris Agreement?

Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. This agreement was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and it entered into force on 4 November 2016.

The goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

How did this agreement work?

The Paris Agreement was said to work on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action that was carried out by 196 countries. Now that it is 2020, countries had to submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

The three pillars on which this agreement worked in countries were:

  1. Capacity Building for climate change
  2. Technological Development and transfer for climate change issues
  3. Finance provision to poor countries for mitigation and adaptation for climate change

What is NDC?

In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they would be taking to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Countries also would need to communicate the actions they would take to build resilience in adaptation to the impact of rising temperatures

Steps towards Climate Change Control

  1. The countries of the world agreed to counter climate change and rising temperatures. But countries like the United States, which had been long-term historical contributors, did not want this deal. The US stated that it put too much pressure on it to make reductions. 
  2. Such countries wanted to erase the very idea of the past and to focus on the need for all to act and for all to take actions based on what they believed they could do.
  3. Although climate change action needs to be massively increased to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the years since its entry into force have already sparked low-carbon solutions and new markets. 
  4. More and more countries, regions, cities and companies are establishing carbon neutrality targets.
  5. Zero-carbon solutions are becoming competitive across economic sectors representing 25% of emissions. This trend is most noticeable in the power and transport sectors and has created many new business opportunities for early movers.
  6. By 2030, zero-carbon solutions could be competitive in sectors representing over 70% of global emissions.

What needs to be done?

  • The countries need to ratchet up the NDCs based on the climate change that would hit them.
  • A global stocktaking in 2023 should be held which should then be checked every five years to measure progress and to use this to initiate cuts and sanctions. 
  • The countries must work to develop market-based instruments that allow them to buy their way into emission reductions in the future.

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