In December 2015, the world was brought together in Paris, France for a historic event. The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) saw the signing of an international agreement to combat climate change – the Paris Agreement.
But how did this agreement come to fruition? Let`s take a closer look at the history behind the Paris Agreement.
The UNFCCC was first adopted in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The objective of the convention was to limit greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere in order to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. It was signed by 154 countries and the European Community.
In 1997, the UNFCCC parties adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which legally bound developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to levels lower than those of 1990. However, the Kyoto Protocol did not include the United States, which refused to ratify the agreement.
With the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, the focus shifted towards creating a successor agreement that would include all countries. The Bali Action Plan, adopted in 2007, set a roadmap for negotiating such an agreement, which was meant to be adopted in 2009 at the COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, these negotiations ultimately failed due to a lack of consensus among the parties.
Despite the setback in Copenhagen, the UNFCCC continued to work towards an agreement. In 2011, at COP17 in Durban, South Africa, the Durban Platform was created to establish a new treaty that would include all countries, with a goal of limiting global temperature rise to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Negotiations continued in subsequent years leading up to COP21 in Paris, where finally, a historic agreement was reached. The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. The agreement also sets out a framework for countries to regularly report on their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase their climate resilience.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement was the result of decades of negotiations and efforts by the international community to combat climate change. The agreement is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that the world meets its goals and commitments.