How Has The Paris Agreement Helped
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement was a new approach. Instead of pursuing legally binding goals, it simply invited countries to submit voluntary commitments or national contributions (CNN). These NDCs are not binding, but the countries submitting them agree to monitor their progress and report on them every five years, in regular “inventories,” starting in 2023. The gap between what has been promised and what is being done will only widen. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) calculates in its annual “emission deficit” report that, in the 2020s, the difference between what countries have promised and what is needed to limit warming to 2 degrees is 13 to 15 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. By comparison, light commercial vehicles in the United States emit about one billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Think of the U.S. auto industry… 15 times. The Paris Agreement is the first legally binding universal global agreement on climate change adopted at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015.
Recognizing that many developing countries and small island developing states that have contributed the least to climate change are most likely to suffer the consequences, the Paris Agreement contains a plan for developed countries – and others that are able to do so – to continue to provide financial resources to help developing countries reduce and increase their capacity to withstand climate change. The agreement builds on the financial commitments of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which aimed to increase public and private climate finance to developing countries to $100 billion per year by 2020. (To put it in perspective, in 2017 alone, global military spending amounted to about $1.7 trillion, more than a third of which came from the United States. The Copenhagen Pact also created the Green Climate Fund to mobilize transformation funding with targeted public dollars. The Paris agreement expected the world to set a higher annual target by 2025 to build on the $100 billion target by 2020 and create mechanisms to achieve this. The authors of the agreement have set a withdrawal period that President Trump must follow – which prevents him from irreparably harming our climate. The agreement recognizes the role of non-partisan stakeholders in the fight against climate change, including cities, other sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and others.