12 December 2015, Paris – The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has adopted the Paris Agreement, in which all 195 member nations are obliged to take action to limit global temperature increases to, “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” aiming, in fact, for a 1.5°C goal.
The agreement binds all countries, regardless of development level, to a common framework for progressive greenhouse gas reductions. Although the targets set out in the agreement are globally binding, individual countries do not have legally binding targets. Instead, each country has submitted its intended actions and contributions to the UNFCCC, with each country to be evaluated in 2018, followed by reviews every five years.
The European Union was ahead of the curve in defining its target of a 40% emissions reduction by 2030. When this was announced last year, the Commission stated it would look again at raising its ambition after the Paris conference. This will now not take place until after 2018. The five-year review mechanism was a key demand of EU negotiators, who also achieved their desired transparency framework, in which countries will have to report on their emissions and their efforts to reduce them.
Click to read the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties Agreement.