The two key thresholds needed for the Paris Climate Change Agreement to become legal reality have been met in early September 2016 as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reported.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in Paris, France at the UN Climate Conference in December 2015. In order to enter into force, at least 55 Parties accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions were required, with the Agreement then entering into force 30 days later.
Launch of the Agreement’s governing body - CMA
Entry into force triggers a variety of important consequences, including launch of the Agreement’s governing body, known as the CMA. In the parlance of the UN climate change process this stands for the Conference of the Parties to the Convention serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.
Given that the count-down to entry into force has now been formally triggered, the CMA will take place at the upcoming annual UN climate conference, known as COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco from 7-18 November.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
Moreover, the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – national climate action plans - of Parties which have joined or subsequently join the Agreement transform into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which can always be resubmitted as more ambitious plans at any point. A key feature of the Agreement is that these plans can be strengthened at any time but not weakened.
Governments will also be obligated to take action to achieve the temperature goals enshrined in the Agreement – keeping the average global temperature rise from preindustrial times below 2 degrees C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
The fact that somewhere around one degree of this rise has already happened and global
Greenhouse-gas emissions have not yet peaked underlines the urgency of implementing the
Paris Agreement in full.
The implementation rule book
Another key milestone will be the successful conclusion of negotiations to develop the Paris Agreement’s implementation rule book. Being in effect a global blueprint for reporting and accounting for climate action, the rule book needs to be completed as soon as possible.
The many successful models and mechanisms for international climate cooperation set up under the UNFCCC over the past two decades, including the Kyoto Protocol, have built up a deep level of experience and knowledge on how this can be done effectively.
It is the completed rule book that will make the Agreement work and make it fully implementable, setting out the detailed requirements under which countries and other actors will openly report and account for the climate action they are taking in a way which promotes trust and confidence across nations to boost their own comprehensive response to the challenge of climate change.
Another key issue is to ensure that the USD 100 billion, pledged by developed countries to developing ones, is truly building in the run up to 2020 and that even larger sums are being leveraged from investors, banks and the private sector that can build towards the USD 5 to USD 7 trillion needed to support a world-wide transformation.
For more information please visit: UNFCCC