The Paris Agreement on climate change

The historic Paris Agreement provides an opportunity for countries to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It entered into force on 4 November 2016.

The UN continues to encourage all stakeholders to take action toward reducing the impacts of climate change.

See which countries have signed the Paris Agreement

I demand that world leaders join the #ParisAgreement on climate change. The time to act is now.

Paris Agreement – Frequently Asked Questions

The Paris Agreement on climate change will officially enter into force.

The Paris Agreement states, in Article 21, paragraph 1, that the Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the date on which at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval with the UN Secretary-General.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that on 5 October 2016 that the conditions for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement had been met and that it shall enter into force on 4 November 2016. An event marking the entry into force of the Agreement will take place at UN Headquarters on that day.

Countries began joining the agreement on 22 April, when 175 countries signed the agreement and 15 deposited their instruments of ratification. The world’s two largest emitters, China and the United States, joined the Paris Agreement in early September, and on 21 September, 60 countries had joined. The threshold for entry into force was achieved on 5 October, when a total of 73 countries and the European Union joined the Agreement, exceeding the 55 per cent threshold for emissions.

Along with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement forms part of a new and universal vision for a sustainable future.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming well below 2 degree Celsius and as close to 1.5 degree Celsius as possible, to increase economic and social ability to adapt to extreme climate, and to direct the scale and speed of global financial flows to match the required path to very low-emission, climate-resilient development.

To this end, the Paris Agreement requires not only joining from as many countries as possible but also ambitious commitment from major emitters of greenhouse effect gases, such as China, the United States of America, Russia, India, Japan and Germany which account for over 55 per cent of the total emission.

As such, the Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the date on which at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval with the UN Secretary-General.

The 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) will be held in Marrakech, November 7 to 18, 2016. COP22 look to take the Paris Agreement forward and ensure that efforts to implement the Agreement begin. In Paris, governments submitted national plans for climate action, pledging never to lower efforts and to raise their ambition over time. Governments and parties will be working to complete the details of a rulebook which will measure, account for and review global climate action. This will ensure transparency on all sides needed to accelerate climate action by making sure that everyone is involved in the effort and is delivering to the best of their abilities.

Governments also agreed to strengthen adequate technology and financial support to developing nations so they can build their own sustainable, clean energy futures.

Climate action will be a major focus of COP22. Civil society, businesses, and other non-party stakeholders are showing increased interest and commitment to lowering the carbon emissions and supporting governments and parties in their fight against the dire effects of climate change.

A total of 94 Parties have ratified the Paris Agreement as of 3 November, accounting for well more than 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The list of the countries that signed or joined the Paris Agreement is available here.

During COP22 in Marrakesh, countries will also convene the first Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement from 15–18 November. Countries that have not yet joined the Agreement may participate in the meeting as observers.  Countries still have to work out many of the details, and entry into force has come much sooner than expected.
To participate in the proceedings of the first Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement as a Party to the Agreement, countries should deposit its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession at least 30 days in advance of the Meeting.

Parties to the Convention that deposit their instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession after the relevant deadline may participate and make interventions as observers.

After signing of the Paris Agreement, countries then formally join the Paris Agreement. This can be done by depositing one of the three types of instruments—ratification, acceptance or approval—with the UN Secretary-General.

The nature of domestic approval system depends on each country’s national constitution and regulatory framework. When a country fulfills its required domestic legal procedures, it can deposit its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval to the Secretary-General, indicating its consent to be bound by the Paris Agreement.

The agreement provides a pathway forward to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees, maybe even 1.5. The agreement provides a mechanism to increase the level of ambition.

The Paris Agreement is an ambitious, dynamic and universal agreement. It covers all countries and all emissions, and is designed to last. This is a monumental agreement. It solidifies international cooperation for climate change. It provides a way forward.
The Paris Agreement sends a powerful signal to markets that now is the time to invest in the low emission economy. It contains a transparency framework to build mutual trust and confidence.

It will serve as an important tool in mobilizing finance technological support and capacity building for developing countries. And it will also help to scale up global efforts to address and minimize loss and damage from climate change.

Paris is a beginning—we now have to implement the Agreement. But we have taken a giant step forward.

The adoption of the Agreement sends a message to the world that countries are serious about addressing climate change. It is a remarkable triumph that the 197 parties to the Convention have reached this agreement.

Yes. There is no question that the world will be much better off because of this agreement. The agreement will help move us toward a more sustainable future.

The agreement is ambitious and it provides all the tools we need to address climate change, for reducing emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The proof will be in the implementation.

The agreement requires all countries to take action, while recognizing their differing situations and circumstances. Under the Agreement, countries are responsible for taking action on both mitigation and adaptation.

Countries officially submitted their own nationally determined climate actions. They have an obligation to implement these plans, and if they do, it will bend the curve downward in the projected global temperature rise.

The agreement not only formalizes the process of developing national plans, but also it provides a binding requirement to assess and review progress on these plans. This mechanism will require countries to continuously upgrade their commitments and ensure that there will be no backtracking.

This agreement is a clarion call from governments that they are ready for implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Countries have every reason to comply with the terms of the Agreement. It is in their interest to implement the agreement, not only in terms of achieving the benefits of taking climate action, but also to show global solidarity.

There is no benefit to flouting the Agreement. Any short-term time gain will be short-lived. It will undoubtedly be overshadowed by negative reactions, by other countries, financial markets, and most important, by their citizens.

The Paris Agreement is a legal instrument that will guide the process for universally acting on climate change. It is a hybrid of legally binding and nonbinding provisions.

The Agreement consists of a core agreement that governs the international process will be binding on parties, while there are elements that are not part of the legally binding agreement. These parts, such as the intended nationally determined contributions, may be binding at the national level.

Yes. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is reflected in this Agreement. There is clearly a duty on all parties to take climate action, according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities, in the light of different national circumstances.
190 countries submitted their INDCs prior to the Paris Conference and two submitted their INDCs on the last night of the Conference. It shows very broad engagement in the process.
The Paris Agreement helps us to avoid locking in a level of ambition that would make the well below 2 degrees goal improbable. In 2018 countries will have an opportunity to review their collective effort against the global goals prior to formally submitting their national contributions to the new agreement. This exercise will be repeated every five years.

We have an agreement and we have a chance now to reach our goal. We couldn’t say that without an agreement. The Paris Agreement will put us on a pathway to achieve the 2 degree goal or less. We did not expect to leave Paris with commitments to reach that goal, but rather, with a process that will get us there. And that is what the Agreement provides.

The fact that 188 countries representing close to 100 percent of global emissions submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions is very encouraging. It shows that countries see Paris as the first stop in a process and are fully engaged in getting where we need to go.

A strong climate agreement backed by action on the ground will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, build stronger economies and safer, healthier, and more liveable societies everywhere. There are 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that directly involve taking action on climate change– in addition to climate change having its own goal.

The Paris Conference featured thousands of climate action announcements that demonstrated how civil society and the private sector are moving forward to address climate change.

The Global Action Agenda is continuing with news commitments being made by cities and regions to companies and investors in 2016 and in advance of COP22 in Morocco.

The world has warmed before, but never this quickly, and it is due to human activities. For instance, the changes in the Arctic between just six years ago and now are shocking.

We can limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees if we take action now. We need all countries and all sectors of society to act now—it is in the interests of everyone.

It is doable. Taking climate action now makes good economic sense. The more we delay, the more we pay. We can promote economic growth, eradicate extreme poverty, and improve people’s health and well-being by acting today.

Parties agreed in Paris on a process to determine what approaches and arrangements are needed to best address the needs of those countries and communities who have contributed least but are impacted most from climate change.

Paris Agreement – History

COP22 UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco

COP22 logoThe 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC took place in Marrakesh, Morocco. During COP 22, parties  began preparations for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, and encouraged actions to implement the Agreement as soon as possible.

Recap of COP22 

21 September 2016 High-Level Event Towards Entry into Force

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a special “High-Level Event on Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change” on 21 September at the UN Headquarters in New York for the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The high-level event provided an opportunity to other countries to publicly commit to joining the Paris Agreement before the end of 2016.

The Paris Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the date on which at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General.

Recap of the High-Level Event Towards Entry into Force

List of countries that ratified the Paris Agreement on 21 September 2016

22 April 2016 Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony

Paris-Agreement_Logo_EN_sizeTo keep the global spotlight focused on climate change and build on the strong political momentum from Paris, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited representatives of all countries to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change at a special Ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters on 22 April. The Signing Ceremony took place on the first day that the Agreement opened for signatures, and marked the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.

Recap of the Signing ceremony

List of countries that signed the Pars Agreement on 22 April

COP21 December 2015- UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France

cop21_logo_transparent The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.

COP21 recap

What you can do

The first thing is: Demand that world leaders join the Paris Agreement! This is crucial to set the world on a path to lower its carbon emissions. You can write a letter to your representative or simply make your voice heard on social media.

Taking climate action is up to everybody. To make it easier, we have put together a list of things you can do. You can also visit the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  to learn more about the Paris Agreement, and spread what you’ve learned and what you’re doing on your social networks with the hashtag #ParisAgreement.

Need some inspiration? Check out our Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World and our Year of Living Sustainably initiative.