What is the Paris Agreement?
– Will all the pledges keep global heating to only a 1.5°C rise?
– What are your Country’s Paris pledges? and is it on track to meet them?
The reasons for action – from the Paris Agreement
What is the Paris Agreement?
On 12th December 2015 the Parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris agreed The Adoption of the Paris Agreement . A Party is a Country, or, in the case of the EU, a Party that submits an extra combined pledge. The Paris Agreement was open for signatures and ratifications on 22nd April 2016 and the list of the dates per Party can be found here at the United Nations Treaty Collection.
- Proposal by the President– threat, urgency, shortfall and opportunities
- Adoption– Secretary General of UN to be Depositary and arrange Parties signatures
- INDCsprior to becoming NDCs
- Decisions to give effect to the Agreement:
- MITIGATION– Parties submit approvals and first NDCs, COP bodies set everything up
- ADAPTATION– Work to clarify adaptation needed, particularly for developing countries and how to finance and help adaptation
- LOSS and DAMAGE– Warsaw International Mechanism to continue and advise on avert, minimise and address displacement. Liability and Compensation excluded
- FINANCE– Funds from Developed Countries to Developing Countries around mitigation and implementation particularly around deforestation
- TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER– Technology needs assessments, enhanced implementation of results, addressing of barriers and a bankable project list
- CAPACITY BUILDING– Capacity building in developing countries
- TRANSPARENCY OR ACTION AND SUPPORT– The Global Environment Facility to handle improved reporting, transparency, accuracy, completeness, consistency and comparability
- GLOBAL STOCKTAKE– include the overall effect of NDCs, adaptation efforts, IPCC reports, subsidiary body reports
- FACILITATING IMPLEMENTATION AND COMPLIANCE– Compliance committee [not yet names] to oversee compliance.
- FINAL CLAUSES– publish up to date information on greenhouse gas emissions
- IV ENHANCED ACTION PRIOR TO 2020 – highest possible mitigation pre 2020. Two ‘champions’ to facilitate co-operation between Parties, Non Party experts, Non Party Stakeholders, Climate Technology Centre and Financial bodies including developing countries on Mitigation and Resilience
- V NON PARTY STAKEHOLDERS– encourages non-party stakeholders to work with Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action Platform (NAZCA) to register activities and share best practice, recognising role of domestic policies and carbon pricing
- VI ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY MATTERS– Urges Parties to make voluntary contributions
- Annex PARIS AGREEMENT– takes into account topics such as poverty, food production, quality jobs, gender equality, intergenerational equality, human rights, vulnerable people, ecosystems, oceans, mother earth, climate justice, sustainable consumption and production
- Article 1 – definitions
- Article 2 – pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5deg above pre-industrial levels
- Article 3– undertake ambitious NDCs, progressing over time and supporting developing countries
- Article 4– aim to reach global peaking of GHG as soon as possible to achieve a balance of emissions and sinks. Parties acting jointly must notify the emission level for each Party
- Article 5– sinks and reservoirs of GHG particularly forests
- Article 6– internationally transferred mitigation outcomes and non-market approaches
- Article 7– Adaptation across local, sub national, national, regional and international dimensions. The greater the mitigation the less need for adaptation. Particularly supporting adaptation for developing countries
- Article 8– Loss and Damage, preparedness and insurance
- Article 9– Assistance to developing countries from a variety of sources for mitigation and adaptation
- Article 10– co-operative effort on Technology development and transfer, accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation
- Article 11– Capacity building (to implement the Agreement
- Article 12– education, training, public awareness, public information
- Article 13– transparency framework including technical expert review identifying areas of improvement per Party
- Article 14– Global Stocktake from 2023 and every 5 years
- Article 15– Committee to facilitate implementation and promote compliance
- Article 16– Conference of the Parties to serve as the Conference of this Agreement, starting with the COP following the date of the Agreement (2020)
- Article 17– Secretariat to do as required by the Conference of the Paris Agreement
- Article 18– Subsidiary Bodies
- Article 19– similar to above
- Article 20 – Agreement signatures 22/04/16 to 21/04/2017 and regional integration organizations
- Article 21 – Agreement in force 30 days after 55 Parties deposit their instruments (if 55% of GHG covered)
- Article 22 – Adoption of amendments same as for Convention amendments
- Article 23 – Annexes in the Agreement integral to Agreement
- Article 24 – Settlements of disputes the same as for the main Convention
- Article 25 – One Party one vote. If any Party in a Regional Economic Integration Organization votes then the organization cannot vote. Otherwise can use all the votes
- Article 26 – The Secretary General of the United Nations shall be the Depositary of this Agreement.
- Article 27 – No reservations can be made to this Agreement
- Article 28 – A Party can withdraw one year after giving notice from 3 years from the Agreement becoming in force
- Article 29 – The Agreement is also authentic in other languages
When will the Paris Agreement make a difference?
The UNFCCC timeline infographic shows events up to 2017 including the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) being established in 1989, (IPCC) reports, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) coming into force in 1994, the Kyoto adoption in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, the adoption of the Paris Agreement in Dec 2015 and the Paris Agreement entering into force on 4 November 2016.
Until 2021 international aviation emissions have no restrictions. Aviation could consume a quarter of the global carbon budget for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C by 2050, according to analysis published by Carbon Brief.
CORSIA to offset growth in emissions
A deal was struck in Montreal in Oct 2016 to offset carbon emissions from aviation. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, aims to stabilise CO2 emissions at 2020 levels by requiring airlines to offset the growth of their emissions after 2020.
Airlines from participating Countries will be required to:
monitor emissions on all international routes;
- offset emissions from routes included in the scheme by purchasing eligible emission units generated by projects that reduce emissions in other sectors (e.g. renewable energy).
CORSIA will be on a voluntary basis from 2021 through 2023 (pilot) and 2024 through 2026 (first phase) and participation of all States (except the States exempted) from 2027 through 2035.
Note that the UK has no tax on aviation fuel, nor any VAT, hence there is no incentive or mechanism to actually reduce flights, or attempt to step up carbon reductions during the crucial next 12 years.
Shipping to reduce absolute emissions
For the shipping sector, Carbon Brief reported in Feb 2019 that it is another cross-border sector not covered by pledges under the Paris Agreement. However, in 2018, flag states at the UN’s shipping agency agreed to a sector-wide goal to reduce absolute emissions 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels.
Most Parties submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN prior to the Paris Conference of Parties (COP21) of December 2015, pledging to reduce Greenhouse Gases, and some have upgraded these to full Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
In Dec 2018, at the COP24 in Katowice an agreement on domestic climate actions was published. It sets out how countries will provide information about mitigation and adaptation measures as well as details of financial support for climate action in developing countries.
To find the latest (I)NDC for your Country/Party go to the UNs NDC Registry (Interim).
Will the pledges keep global heating to only a 1.5°C rise?
The original INDC pledges did not add up to a sufficient reduction in Greenhouse Gas to limit Global Warming to the 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels that would minimise climate breakdown. The UN’s Emissions Gap report, published shortly before COP24 in Poland, showed that global efforts to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement are now substantially off-track.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5°C special report of Oct 2018 publicised the scientific evidence on the impacts of global warming, with frightening summaries of the evidence of impacts of 1.5°C and higher average temperatures. Carbon Brief has an interactive schematic of the impact on Oceans, Ice, Temperature, Rainfall, Drought, Storms and Flooding, Crops, Nature, Economy, Health at a 1.5°C rise compared with a 2°C rise and a catastrophic 3.5°C rise.
The report says that we have only 12 years to avert a 1.5°C rise, whilst Carbon Brief reported in Feb 2019 from the UK Met Office that we have a 10% chance of having this over the next 5 years
Even though the Paris process has a built in ‘ratchet’ mechanism, and pledges should be continually replaced by more ambitious pledges, it is clear that we are heading for calamity, unless we reduce Greenhouse gas massively, starting from NOW.
All countries (including each EU Country) must update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—by 2020.
Do your Country’s NDC pledges acknowledge the Climate Emergency? Do the pledges include ambitious actions and policies to be zero carbon by at least 2030?