Paris Agreement on Climate Change Year

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Progress Update

The Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in 2015, with the aim of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It was widely hailed as a historic achievement and represented a global commitment to address the urgent threat of climate change. Now, five years later, it is worth taking stock of how far we have come and what challenges lie ahead.

One of the key features of the Paris Agreement was the establishment of nationally determined contributions (NDCs), where each country sets its own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These targets are reviewed every five years to ensure they are ambitious enough to meet the overall goal of limiting global warming.

So far, 189 countries have submitted their NDCs. However, analysis shows that even if all these targets are met, we are still on track for a temperature increase of over 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This highlights the urgent need for further action and increased ambition.

One positive development in recent years has been the growing momentum around renewable energy. In many parts of the world, renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, and investment in renewable energy has surpassed investment in fossil fuels. This shift towards cleaner energy sources is crucial if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Another area where progress has been made is in the role of cities and states. In the absence of strong national action in some countries, cities and states have taken the lead in setting ambitious climate targets and implementing policies to reduce emissions. This decentralization of climate action is empowering and can help to accelerate progress towards a low-carbon future.

However, despite these positive developments, much more needs to be done. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility of our economic and societal systems, and the need for a more sustainable and resilient future. The economic recovery from the pandemic provides a unique opportunity to build back better and invest in a clean and sustainable future.

In 2020, countries were due to submit updated NDCs ahead of the crucial UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, which has now been postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic. It is hoped that these updated targets will reflect the urgency of the situation and set us on a pathway towards limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

In conclusion, the Paris Agreement on climate change has provided a framework for global action on one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. While progress has been made, much more needs to be done if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The next few years will be crucial in determining whether we can rise to this challenge and create a sustainable and equitable future for all.