SIM Social Impact Movement

What Is the Paris Climate Agreement

It has become common knowledge for more and more people that climate change is a pressing issue needing to be addressed. Around the world, individuals and entire countries are feeling the effects of climate change. There are increased wildfires and natural disasters, rising temperatures, droughts, and rising sea levels, to name a few. No one nation can bear the responsibility of solving the climate crisis, considering the actions of people in every nation contributes to climate change even if some nations try to do their part to help stop the climate crisis from worsening. For this reason, the Paris Climate Agreement was created, in hopes that all nations, big or small, could work together to help fight climate change. 

Goals of the Agreement

Although the Paris Climate Agreement is a long and complex document that explains all of its goals in detail, here are the most notable goals it proposes. There is a long term goal of keeping the increase in global temperature well under 35.6°F (2°C) and limit the increase in global temperature to 34.7°F (1.5°C) at most, since any temperature higher than this would lead to dire, irreversible consequences for the climate. There is a goal for global emissions to peak as soon as possible and trend downward, as soon as developing countries have the means to decrease emissions after enough sustainable infrastructure has been constructed that heightening emissions will not be an absolute necessity. After emissions have peaked, the agreement states that any available technology will be used to remove emissions from the air so that they cannot cause more long lasting harm than they already have. Along with agreeing to all of these goals, the nations involved in the agreement promised to remain accountable and continue reporting proof of their efforts to actually accomplish these goals. 

History of the Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Climate Agreement was created at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015. At this conference, 196 nations came together and agreed to the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, pledging to the goals set. Nicaragua and Syria were the only nations who did not sign the agreement, with the United States dropping out of the agreement under Donald Trump’s presidency in 2020. Partly because of the economic toll of some of the requirements, such as developed countries providing resources to countries that do not have the resources to accomplish the goals of the plan. Partly because of the amount of resources and time that nations involved in the plan, and the legally binding agreement forcing nations involved to accomplish these goals no matter what happens. Regardless of these excuses, lack of participation in the agreement from any nation is a selfish choice jeopardizing the future of humanity.

Urgency of Participation Going Forward

Considering the fact that the United States is a large contributor of emissions and the climate crisis worsening, it’s a good thing that Joe Biden’s administration has rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the success of the Paris Climate Agreement requires governments all around the world to be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of humanity. If the climate crisis continues as it is now, there is a dangerous future ahead. However, the Paris Climate Agreement is an example of humans working together and trying to save our planet from ourselves. Only time will tell whether the agreement will be successful in preventing total climate disaster from ravaging the planet, but thankfully, nations are legally bound to urgently attempt to complete these goals. The external motivator of the Paris Climate Agreement might be what’s necessary to make progress.

Author: Gabi Jonikas