The Most Trusted Coverage Service

The Paris Agreement Overview

  • October 11, 2021

The Paris Agreement is the world`s first comprehensive climate agreement. [15] From 30 November to 11 December 2015, France received representatives from 196 countries for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, one of the largest and most ambitious global climate meetings ever held. The goal was nothing less than a binding and universal agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions to a level that would prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C (3.6°F) above the temperature level set before the start of the Industrial Revolution. The Kyoto Protocol, a pioneering environmental agreement adopted at COP3 in Japan in 1997, is the first time that nations have agreed on legal country-specific emission reduction targets. The protocol, which only entered into force in 2005, set binding emission reduction targets only for industrialized countries, arguing that they were responsible for most of the world`s high greenhouse gas emissions. The United States initially signed the agreement, but never ratified it; President George W. Bush argued that the deal would hurt the U.S. economy because developing countries like China and India would not be involved. Without the participation of these three countries, the effectiveness of the treaty has proven to be limited, as its objectives cover only a small fraction of total global emissions.

The Paris Agreement has a “bottom-up” structure, unlike most international environmental treaties, which are “top-down” and are characterized by internationally defined norms and goals that states must implement. [32] Unlike its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, which sets commitment targets that have the force of res judicata, the Paris Agreement, focused on consensus-building, allows for voluntary and national targets. [33] Specific climate objectives are therefore more politically encouraged than legally linked. Only the processes governing reporting and verification of these objectives are prescribed by international law. This structure is particularly notable for the United States – in the absence of legal targets for reduction or funding, the agreement is considered an “executive agreement and not a treaty”. Since the 1992 UNFCCC treaty has received Senate approval, this new agreement does not require further laws of Congress for it to enter into force. [33] In 1992, President George H.W.