2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change Summary

The Paris Agreement on climate change was a historic diplomatic effort signed on December 12, 2015, by 195 countries around the world. The agreement was formulated during the Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in Paris, France, as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The overarching goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while endeavoring to limit it even further to 1.5°C. This is in recognition of the grave risks that climate change poses to the world, including rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions, and damage to ecosystems.

The Paris Agreement is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which recognizes that developed countries have a greater responsibility to take action on climate change due to their historical emissions. The agreement also supports the concept of climate justice, which highlights the fact that the impacts of climate change are disproportionate, affecting the most vulnerable populations.

To achieve its goals, the Paris Agreement commits countries to a number of actions. These include:

1. Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs): All countries are required to submit INDCs that outline their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These plans will be reviewed every five years, with the aim of increasing ambition over time.

2. Long-term decarbonization strategies: Countries are encouraged to develop long-term strategies to achieve net-zero emissions by the second half of this century.

3. Adaptation measures: Countries are also encouraged to develop and implement adaptation measures to address the impacts of climate change.

4. Finance: Developed countries are required to provide financial assistance to developing countries to support their climate action efforts, including both mitigation and adaptation measures. A goal of $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020 has been set.

5. Technology transfer: Developed countries are also required to support the transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries.

The Paris Agreement represents a major milestone in the global effort to tackle climate change. It provides a framework for countries to work together to address this urgent issue, based on the principle of collective action and common responsibilities. However, in order to achieve the goals of the agreement, significant action is required by all countries, particularly those with the highest emissions. The Paris Agreement is just the beginning of a long journey towards a sustainable future for all.