The Paris Agreement, established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is a legally binding treaty signed by 195 countries in 2015. The goal of the treaty is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while striving for a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees Celsius.
So, what has the Paris Agreement done so far to achieve this goal?
One of the most significant actions taken under the Paris Agreement is the creation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Every country that signed onto the agreement is required to submit an NDC, which outlines their individual efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These targets are reviewed and updated every five years.
Since the Paris Agreement was established, several major economies have made significant strides in reducing their carbon emissions. For example, the European Union has set a goal of reducing their emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to reach peak emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.
Additionally, the Paris Agreement has spurred a global shift in investments towards renewable energy and other climate-friendly technologies. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, renewable energy accounted for 72% of global power expansion in 2019.
The Paris Agreement has also heightened public awareness and advocacy for climate action. The youth-led Fridays for Future movement, inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg, has become a global phenomenon with millions of young people taking to the streets to demand stronger climate policies from their governments.
However, despite these positive developments, the world is still far from reaching the Paris Agreement’s goals. The latest UN report on climate change warns that global temperatures are set to exceed the 1.5-degree Celsius limit as early as 2030, leading to devastating impacts on the planet and its inhabitants. Additionally, many countries have not yet set ambitious enough targets in their NDCs to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement has taken significant steps towards reducing global emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. However, more action is needed from governments, businesses, and individuals to reach the agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while striving for a temperature increase of only 1.5 degrees Celsius.