Why the Paris Agreement Matters

Instead, it now seems plausible that, at least in the short term, significant, while insufficient, decarbonization gains can be realized around the world without a successor regime in Paris – promises and programs that emerge nation by nation and are largely implemented according to the logic of national interest and cultural change. Depending on your point of view, this may seem naïve (that countries around the world might just feel compelled to act instead of acting) or cynical (that market logic will do more to bend curves than international agreements). And whatever your point of view, such an ad hoc agreement will prove inadequate, as years of slow progress have effectively eliminated "safe" warming from the table. I also had doubts about Paris – starting with the inadequacy of the initial commitments, the loneliness of Morocco and The Gambia in fulfilling these commitments, and the apparent improbability of countries responding to these discouraging early repatriations by accelerating their commitments rather than simply leaving them. The fact that the UN framework meant that all nations could effectively veto future agreements also did not seem auspicious, given the difficulty of imagining global climate unity. But Sabel and Victor`s essay shows the problem of wanting to bury a global agreement too quickly. Presumably, this announcement from Beijing also surprised them. The agreement signed in the French capital, considered a turning point for global climate policy, comes into force on Friday. These transparency and accountability provisions are similar to those of other international agreements. While the system does not involve financial sanctions, the requirements are aimed at easily tracking each nation`s progress and fostering a sense of global peer pressure, thus preventing any hesitation between countries considering doing so.

The Kyoto Protocol, a landmark environmental treaty adopted at COP3 in Japan in 1997, is the first time that countries have agreed on country-specific emission reduction targets that are legally mandated. The protocol, which only entered into force in 2005, set binding emission reduction targets only for developed countries, based on the assumption that they were responsible for most of the Earth`s high greenhouse gas emissions. The United States first signed the agreement, but never ratified it; President George W. Bush argued that the deal would hurt the U.S. economy because it would not include developing countries like China and India. Without the participation of these three countries, the effectiveness of the treaty proved limited, as its objectives covered only a small fraction of total global emissions. This meeting will focus mainly on how the agreement can be implemented, establishing procedures and guidelines for its operation, and defining the review process and transparency requirements that nations must meet. The Paris Agreement does not build on a previous commitment by developed countries to jointly raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change, but it has raised the public profile of the Green Climate Fund. The United States is the second largest emitter of CO2 after China and historically the largest. The Biden administration`s renewed commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement and advancing research and development of solutions can help protect the health and well-being of families and future generations. Currently, 197 countries – every nation on earth, the last signatory being war-torn Syria – have adopted the Paris Agreement. Of these, 179 have solidified their climate proposals with formal approval – including the US for now.

The only major emitting countries that have not yet officially joined the deal are Russia, Turkey and Iran. U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement if he becomes president. Kyoto Protocol, 2005. The Kyoto Protocol [PDF], adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, was the first legally binding climate agreement. It required developed countries to reduce their emissions by an average of 5 per cent compared to 1990 levels and established a system to monitor countries` progress. But the treaty did not force developing countries, including major carbon emitters China and India, to take action.