The Paris Agreement treaty was formed in 2015, with a mission to reduce the emission of gasses that contributed to global warming. With the first-ever universal agreement to fight global change, France has promised stakeholders to make it universal and legally binding, fair and different, and sustainable and dynamic.

The treaty replaced the Kyoto Protocol, in force since 2005, and was deemed ineffective due to the main carbon dioxide-emitting countries like the USA and China not participating.

As of February 2021, 191 states and the European Union have signed the Agreement — including the USA and China. In 2020, the USA officially withdrew from the Agreement but was formally returned after Joe Biden was elected as the next US President.

The White House stated, “As the US government “re-enters the global climate fight”, Mr. Biden wants to underscore the urgency and economic benefits of stronger climate action.”

The treaty’s objective is to prevent temperatures from rising more than 22 °C (3.6 °F) — the global temperature standard. The treaty required countries to send their climate change plans known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), as well as provide financial, technical, and capacity-building assistance to countries that are more prone to the effects of global warming.

Working on a 5-year cycle, each countries’ NDCs illustrate their plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions based on the Paris Agreement’s standards. On top of the NDCs, the treaty also requested countries to present their long-term low greenhouse gas emission strategies (LT-LEDS) by 2020. Countries are not obligated to submit their LT-LEDS, but having a vision for the planet’s state is always beneficial in the long run.

By 2035, the UK government plans to lower down carbon emissions by 78%. These goals can be accomplished if UK citizens have more access to electric cars, renewable energy and consume less meat and dairy products. With the encouragement of walking, making aviation prices more expensive, and cutting down fossil fuels, the possibility of a greener future is in the making.

Other countries had also set up plans to fight climate change. By 2030, The EU parliament and the USA have planned to lower down carbon emissions by 50-55%. The EU commission has announced in their €1.8tn long-term budget that at least 30% will be used to tackle climate change.

A vision for a greener future in the USA may affect their old way of life, switching from coal to electricity. These measures are not only necessary but what puts the USA as one of the leading examples for nations to follow.

Unlike the USA, other countries are a bit slow in implementing their climate change plans. China has only indicated to strictly control coal-fired projects, as they are responsible for coal growth during the pandemic’s recovery. Australia, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, and Mexico have “shamefully done nothing”, said Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa.

To keep track of progress, countries developed an established transparency framework (ETF) for 2024 — in which they will report on the measures taken, adaptation measures, and support provided or received towards climate mitigation. Countries under the Paris Agreement must submit their first biennial transparency report (BTR1) and national inventory report by December 31st, 2024.

The Global stocktake and the UNFCCC secretariat will review whether the measures were aligned with the treaty’s long-term goals for climate change, and assess the information accordingly. With countries implementing their climate change strategies — a vision for climate neutrality is made — for a greener revolution for generations to come.

By Erryl Ho

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