COP21 : Paris agreement for Climate
“I hear no objection in the room, I declare the Paris climate agreement adopted.”
It was with these words, on Saturday, 12th December, that Laurent Fabius closed the fierce negotiations that had been underway for two weeks in Le Bourget. A long standing ovation and shouts of joy followed in the room where the 195 countries had gathered to adopt the Paris agreement, a historic agreement to combat climate change.
After two weeks of negotiations and months of bargaining, he celebrated the completion of the French Presidency’s work.
The main items of the Paris agreement are introduced hereafter, based on the article by Mr. Benjamin Géminel on the COP21 website. :
Limiting the temperature rise below 2°C
This agreement is a door opened on a new world. It confirms the goal to keep the temperature rise below 2°C. Scientists are of the opinion that major hazards do exist above this threshold. For the very first time, the agreement even aims a 1,5°C rise, in order to enable the safeguards of Insular States, which are the most threaten by water tides.
How can we reach the limitation of global warming ?
186 countries (as of December, 12th 2015) have published their action plan during the year 2015 : each of this action plans aims at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) carried out an evaluation of these contributions on November, 1st 2015. This study showed that although the involvement by States was without precedent, the global warming was to reach between 2,7°C and 3°C, that is to say above the threshold defined by scientists.
That is why the Paris agreement calls upon each country to review these contributions, every 5 years starting from 2020, with no possibility to diminish its goals and, on the contrary, to encourage each State to do more.
Moreover, emissions are to reach a peak as soon as possible, and countries will aim to reach the "neutral emission point" within the second half of the century.
What are the other means that States can use to limit the rise of temperatures?
The agreement recognizes than 100 billion US dollars (as loans or contributions) will have to be dedicated, each year beginning from 2020, to the financing of projects enabling countries to adapt to climate change (rising floodwaters, drought...) or to decrease greenhouse effect gas emissions. Such financing means should increase, as the agreement indicates. Some developing countries, on a voluntary basis, might also become doners to help poorest countries. This is something new. In 2025, a first revision conference is planned by the agreement, in order to define new quantified commitments for the help of poorest countries.
Do all countries have the same responsibility regarding global warming ?
One of the main principles of the climate negotiation is to acknowledge that facing climate change, countries have a shared but differentiate responsibility, according for example to their wealth level. Regarding financing means, the agreement give the obligation to industrialized countries to finance the help the poorest countries, according to climate topics, while developing countries are encouraged to finance such help on a voluntary basis. To promote transparency, a stronger than before system enabling the following of commitments is created in order to track the efforts of each and every country, but with flexibility for developing countries.
When is the agreement to enter into force?
The agreement will be open for signature by countries on April, 22nd in New York. Two criteria have to be met so that it will entry into force: 55 countries / 55 % of emissions will have to have ratified the agreement.
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