5. History and Context
• UNFCCC – 1992
• International environmental treaty with the goal of stabilizing GHGs to avoid dangerous interference in the climate system.
• A framework for 197 countries to commit to pathways and specific targets as part of this overarching goal.
• Member states meet annually at COP – Conference of the Parties to discuss targets, how to achieve them, and responsibilities of
• 1997 Kyoto Protocol – legally binding obligations to reduce GHGs for developed nations. (Commitment was originally for
developed nations to stabilize emissions at 1990 levels by 2000. This was quickly deemed insufficient.) US never ratified it. No
effect on China – maybe no effect at all!
• 2010 COP 16: Limit global warming to 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels.
• 2015 COP 21: Agree to “well below 2.0 °C” and strive for 1.5 °C – this is the “Paris Agreement”
6. Contents of the Paris Agreement
• Long-term temperature goal (“well below 2C”)
• Global peaking (of GHGs as soon as possible) and climate neutrality (balance of anthropogenic sources
and sinks by 2050 (net neutral))
• Mitigation: all parties commit to “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) that ratchet up over
time. With different standards for developed and developing nations.
• Sinks and reservoirs: all parties encouraged to enhance and protect sinks and reservoirs like forests.
• Cooperation: Parties can make deals.
• Adaptation: establishes a goal of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing
vulnerability to climate change in the context of the temperature goal of the Agreement.”
• Finance, tech, and capacity building support: Frameworks for developed nations to assist developing
• Enhanced climate change education and public awareness.
• Transparency, implementation, and compliance measures (think about the decision process)
7. Contents of the Paris Agreement