The Paris Agreement

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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change describes The Paris Agreement as being a ”legally binding international treaty on climate change”. Adopted by 196 countries and regions, it entered into force on November 4th, 2016. Basically, the goal of the treaty, a long-term one, is to limit global warming to below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to the pre-industrial level. Companies are expected to reach their peak in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, in order to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

The Paris Agreement stipulates that all countries, including major emitters, must submit and update their greenhouse gas reduction targets every five years, report on their implementation status in a common and flexible manner, and undergo reviews. (

How The Paris Agreement works

”Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science. The Paris Agreement works on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).” (

All the countries that have joined The Paris Agreement have to present their plans containing the actions they will undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These are long-term strategies that bring countries together in the fight against accelerated global warming. For those countries that don’t have the capacity to support the actions, The Paris Agreement provides a framework for financial, technical, and capacity-building support.

What The Paris Agreement's impact has been so far

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, and massive solutions must be taken into account, at a larger scale, The Paris Agreement has managed to determine the creation of low-carbon solutions and new markets, as well as bringing nations together in this collective goal. “More and more countries, regions, cities, and companies are establishing carbon neutrality targets. Zero-carbon solutions are becoming competitive across economic sectors representing 25% of emissions. This trend is most noticeable in the power and transport sectors and has created many new business opportunities for early movers”. (

What are the next steps?

“We need commitments that will deliver a reduction of emissions by 45% by 2030, so we can reach net-zero emissions by mid-century” – Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. (

In order to achieve the goals stated in The Paris Agreement, not just the top greenhouse gas emitters should get seriously involved in undertaking actions, but a worldwide sustained effort should be adopted. To achieve the goal, the Parties to The Paris Agreement have been provided with a rulebook, the Katowice package. “Adopted at the UN climate conference (COP24) in December 2018, it contains common and detailed rules, procedures, and guidelines that operationalize the Paris Agreement”. (