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What Has the Paris Climate Agreement Done

Outside of formal intergovernmental negotiations, countries, cities and regions, businesses and members of civil society around the world are taking action to accelerate cooperative climate action in support of the Paris Agreement as part of the Global Climate Action Programme. The Paris Agreement establishes a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and striving to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen the capacity of countries to cope with the effects of climate change and to support them in their efforts. Many cities, businesses and organizations are developing plans to reduce emissions, responding to the UNFCCC`s call to become carbon neutral by the second half of the century. In the United States, more than six hundred local governments [PDF] have detailed climate action plans that include emissions reduction targets, despite the federal government`s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, investors are investing more money in climate-friendly funds. In early 2020, BlackRock, the world`s largest asset manager, announced that it would avoid investing in companies with severe climate risks. Large companies like Amazon and Starbucks have also committed to carbon neutrality. Some have gone even further, saying they will be carbon negative, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they release. However, critics have accused some of these greenwashing companies of presenting themselves as environmentally conscious while continuing to practice harmful practices.

Such developments have allowed global greenhouse gas emissions to continue to reach record levels in 2019, according to a new UN report. This year, the pandemic triggered a short-term decline in climate pollution as the economy stalled and people avoided traveling and worked from home. Emissions have fallen by about 7 percent this year compared to 2019, according to a new estimate by an international team of scientists in the journal Earth System Science Data. However, emissions are expected to recover as economies recover. The agreement contains commitments from all countries to reduce their emissions and work together to adapt to the effects of climate change and calls on countries to strengthen their commitments over time. The agreement provides an opportunity for developed countries to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts, while providing a framework for transparent monitoring and reporting on countries` climate goals. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body established in 1988, regularly evaluates the latest climate science and produces consensus reports for countries. But others believe that the most sensible climate action will take place outside of the Paris Agreement. Some experts are calling for the creation of a climate club – an idea championed by Yale University economist William Nordhaus – that would punish countries that fail to meet or fail to meet their commitments. Others propose new treaties [PDF] that apply to specific emissions or sectors to complement the Paris Agreement. The president`s promise to renegotiate the international climate agreement has always been a smog screen, the oil industry has a red phone inside, and will Trump bring food trucks to Old Faithful? The Paris Agreement is an unusual mix of growing ambitions and few enforcement mechanisms.

All countries in the world have pledged to take action to keep the global temperature increase „well below“ 2°C by 2100. This would require weaning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, halting forest loss, overhauling food production, and finding ways to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. However, to achieve this goal, countries have been allowed to develop their own goals and plans on how to achieve them. Failure to do so is associated with few concrete sanctions. India`s INDC highlighted the challenges of eradicating poverty while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. About 24% of the world`s population without access to electricity (304 million) lived in India. Nevertheless, the country has planned to „reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030“ compared to 2005 levels. The country has also tried to get about 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels by 2030.

The INDC noted that implementation plans would not be affordable with national funds: it estimated that at least $2.5 trillion would be needed to take climate action by 2030. India would achieve this goal through technology transfer (the relocation of capacity and equipment from more developed to less developed countries [LDCs]) and international financing, including support from the Green Climate Fund (a programme designed to support populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change by investing in low-emission technologies and climate-resilient development). .