Paris Agreement: how we reached a milestone

On the 5th of October the Paris agreement has entered into force, as enough countries has ratified the document. As India, China and United States ratified the agreement, the participating nations went well above the 55% threshold of emissions, mandatory for the agreement to take effect.

The Paris agreement often as “the most comprehensive international agreement ever to combat man-made climate change” (Time, Oct. 2016), it is the first real step towards a global response to the threat of climate change,  by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Crucial has been the ratification by the European Union. President Jean-Claude Juncker said“Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union.  Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”

What’s next?

In one month time, exactly on the 4th November 2016 the agreement will come into force for each nations. For the EU members state, they will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their national parliamentary processes.

We have already spoken about Cop21 and its agreement: http://steamgreen.unibo.it/2015/12/13/whats-in-your-climate-agreement; but we want you to remind the main points of the Climate Change Agreement:

  • a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
  • on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
  • to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.

Governments also agreed to:

  • come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science;
  • report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets;
  • track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system

However, the agreement still has to doubts to cast away; for example among the top emitters there is China, 20% total Co2 emissions, which however is still consider as a developing country, racing a lot of questions about equity. Moreover, questionable is the fact that the CO2 reduction commitments in the agreement would not apply until 2020. By that time much more CO2 will have been pumped into the atmosphere, maybe making the agreement useless.

Anyway, last Wednesday will be sure remembered as an historical day for the fight against Climate Change.

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