The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It aims to keep global warming between 2 to 1.5 degrees Celsius through economic and social transformations. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, 196 nations have joined. Known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A yearly meeting, or COP for Conference of the Parties, was to have taken place in November 2020, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. COP has met every year for the past 26 years and is one of the largest gatherings of world leaders attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCC.
The Paris Agreement called for unprecedented changes right away and fast before it’s too late and emphasized the voices of young and indigenous groups, those who are suffering the most or gain to suffer the most. Climate change is as young people say, “the biggest threat to their generation” and they are frustrated that people like former president Donald Trump did not listening to science. Literally their existence and the rest of humanity is at stake. It is the youth and future generations who will bear the burden of climate change.
Since the Paris Agreement, the use of clean energy has grown steadily, which has created many jobs. With increased use of a solar panels, wind turbines, fuel efficient and electrical cars, more bike lanes, and pioneering sustainable agriculture, we still need to do more and quickly. This is a man-made problem on a global scale threatening the natural world, eco-systems of plants, animals, and humans. Experts say we have until 2030, which is fast approaching, to make unprecedented changes and avoid irreversible damage to the planet.
Despite all the positive changes, hotter temperatures, frequent bush fires, hurricanes, droughts, intense cyclones are also increasing. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonia Guterres, admitted that after five years, the planet is still not going in the right direction. The agreement five years ago was to decrease temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but commitments have not been met. Instead, temperatures are rising. Guterres advised all countries to declare a state of emergency for climate change. On December 15, 2020, French president Emmanuel Macron proposed to add climate change to the constitution.
With all that is going on this year with the pandemic, this is a time to start over in a different way to restore not just the economy but also the planet and perhaps our lives for a new normal. This is the time to act fast. There are many groups of people working together towards the movement, environmental activists, young people, communities, countries, mindsets are shifting as the secretary general said, “this is the moment of truth, moment of hope for more and more countries getting on board to climate change, cities striving to become greener young people taking on responsibility”. The promise of a net zero carbon world is possible.
The countries in the Paris Agreement meet every five years, to discuss their NDC, national determined contribution. Developed countries like UK, France, and the United Stated are required to donate money to help with financial, technical, and capacity building for the countries that cannot afford it or those impacted by climate change the most. In countries like UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 68% and to reverse the process of centuries of damage to the planet while creating millions of jobs. Most governments only focus on the economy. It makes you wonder if they had to choose between saving the planet and creating millions of jobs, which would they choose?
What has the Paris Agreement achieved? Starting in 2024 countries must report on their specific actions taken towards climate change mitigations, adaptation measures and financial support provided or received. It is safe to say the Paris Agreement has not achieved much. Countries are beginning to become competitive to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However none have agreed on who is most responsible or how to set emissions reduction goals.
Most experts say the Paris Agreement is not doing enough to prevent the global average temperatures form rising and are not setting unprecedented ambitious and urgent goals.The Paris agreements does not enforce rules or penalize countries. Many believe there should be another organization besides the Paris Agreement, an organization that is smaller, focused on a specific sector or industry contributing to greenhouse gases. Imagine a group that focused on only aviation, automobiles, steel companies, petroleum companies or local governments instead of a whole country. That is why local cities in the United States are making plans to lower emission and go greener. Thankfully, the current new Administration under President Joe Biden has turned in a new direction supporting efforts to cut carbon emissions for the next ten years.
The Biden administration has rejoined the Paris Agreement. Based on the graph, since 1850 to the present, the United States has been the biggest greenhouse gas emitter. Yet, under the Trump administration government didn’t feel responsible for climate change or helping financially. Antonia Guterres joked that there is no vaccine for climate change. However there is hope. Hope for future generation to come.
Kennedy, Rachael. “Macron Proposes French Constitutional Referendum on Climate Change.” Euronews, 15 Dec. 2020, www.euronews.com/2020/12/15/emmanuel-macron-proposes-french-referendum-to-add-climate-change-to-the-constitution.
Maizland, Lindsay. “Global Climate Agreements: Successes and Failures.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 2020, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/paris-global-climate-change-agreements.
“The Paris Agreement.” Unfccc.int, unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.
Written by Douglas Broom, Senior Writer. “The US Is Set to Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Here’s What You Need to Know.” World Economic Forum, 2020, www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/paris-agreement-climate-change-us-biden/.
Maizland, Lindsay. “Global Climate Agreements: Successes and Failures.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 2020,