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Paris Climate Agreement

On 12 December 2015, at the end of the Paris climate conference (known as the Conference of the parties or «COP 21»), 195 countries approved the Paris Agreement, the first global climate agreement. It officially entered into force on 4 November 2016, thirty days after the date on which 55 countries responsible for at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions had ratified the agreement.

The Paris Agreement sets out an international plan of action to contain long-term global warming «well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels» and even to «pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C». To achieve this, the agreement stipulates that signatory parties must review their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions every five years.

The Paris Agreement also provides forthat the signatory parties to aim to reach a global emissions peak as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter so as to achieve a balance between emissions and removals (net zero emissions target) by the second half of the century.

The agreement also states that developed countries are to provide financial support to developing countries of at least USD 100 billion per year to enable them to reduce their emissions and adjust to the effects of climate change. It also invites developed countries to «continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets». Developing countries, for their part, should «continue enhancing their mitigation efforts».

The Paris Agreement does not include a system of sanctions. However, an overall assessment of the agreement is planned for 2023 and thereafter every five years. These assessments will enable countries to inform each other and inform the public of progress made in achieving the objectives set.

In 2017, the new US President, D. Trump, announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, this exit will only be official in 2019 and effective in 2020. Civil society (local authorities, companies, NGOs, etc.) was strongly involved in preparing and providing a follow-up to the Paris Agreement (COP 21 to 23 in particular).

To find out more about sustainable development and the fight against global warming, please consult our dossier

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