THE UNFCCC 21th Conference of Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from the 30th of November to the 12th of December, 2015. The 195 countries represented here reached an historical agreement to curb climate change.
The Paris agreement at a glance:
- Objective to keep temperature rise below 2°C and try to limit it to 1.5°C
- Five-year cycle of actions. 186 countries have published their action plans to reduce emissions.
- Review mechanism every five years, with a first world review in 2023. This will help increase the transparency, countries will be required to report on their emissions.
- Focus on climate change adaptation instead of mitigation, which means “adjusting systems in response to climate change, with changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change,”(UNFCCC) while mitigation is about reducing GHG emissions.
- Finance and burden-sharing. Developed countries are to provide financial resources to help resources countries, up to 100 billion dollars from 2020.
- Loss and damage principle. The agreement acknowledges the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage, created in 2013 to deal with the cases when mitigation and adaptation fail.
What is next?
The agreement will be open to signature on next Earth day, the 22nd of April, 2016. To be enforced, at least 55 countries must ratify it, and they must represent at least 55% of the world’s emissions.
What can you do?
Every organization can take part in mitigating climate change and reducing emissions! A first step is to assess the carbon footprint to then reduce the identified emissions by implementing many simple actions at local level.