Post Paris: What Next?
The Paris 2015 Climate Change Summit came to a close on 12th December 2015. Nearly 200 countries took part in the negotiations and, in the end, an agreement was reached that aims to reduce carbon emissions and sets a target of limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2°C. Although this agreement is a promising step in the right direction, what does it mean and what happens next?
To limit the rise in temperature to less than 2°C
The main aim of this agreement was to make sure that, in this century, all countries would work towards keeping global temperatures well below 2°C, as scientists are of the opinion that a higher increase would be very dangerous. Also the agreement goes a step further by stating an ideal aim should be 1.5°C in order to provide a safe defense against any effects from climate change.
First steps to avoiding global warming
As of this moment, 186 countries have already put forward their actions plans detailing how they will reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions.The UNFCC evaluated these plans and came to the conclusion that global warming temperatures would still be between 2.7°C and 3°C, which is above the target that was set. Due to this, the agreement requests that countries review their progress every five years from the year 2020. Their targets should not be lowered but instead raised. The aim is for greenhouse gas emissions to peak as soon as possible and it is hoped that, by the second half of the century, all countries will work towards carbon neutrality.
Working together on an international stage
The Paris Agreement promotes a global goal for countries to challenge and adapt to climate change through working together and supporting each other on a global level. During the negotiations. one of the main principles was that all countries have common goals, but different responsibilities in relation to climate change, depending on the wealth of that particular country. Therefore, developed countries should provide financial help to poorer countries, while developing countries have the option to offer financial help on a voluntary basis. The Paris agreement puts forward that each year from 2020, $100 billion will need to raised in order for countries to tackle the challenges of climate change or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is also planned that this amount will increase over time.
On 22nd April 2016 (Mother Earth Day), at the UN in New York the Paris Agreement will be open for countries to sign. However the agreement can only come in to effect after it has been ratified by 55 countries that represent 55% of emissions.
The Paris agreement is a positive step in the right direction, however in the future there is much more work that needs to be done. In a recent BBC article, it was suggested that if countries did not act, global temperatures could reach 4.5°C by the year 2100. However if countries stood by the Paris agreement proposals, then by the year 2100 global temperatures could just reach 2.7°C. At this time the Paris agreement is an encouraging step that could lead to a united effort to challenge climate change.|