Article image

The Paris Agreement is now in effect – but results unknown

The Paris Agreement is now in effect, but what does it mean for the world?

On November 4th, 2016, the long-awaited Paris Agreement came into effect. Many hope this legally binding international agreement will set the world in motion towards a greener future.

The agreement was the result of extended and complex negotiations, but the hot question is: what exactly does this legal ruling on climate change mean for us?

The key messages as laid out in the “UN Climate Action Now Summary for Policymakers” give us an idea of the agreement’s aims. What is unclear is how these policies will be put into practice. The world will be watching the UN’s next meeting in Marrakech, which starts tomorrow, for signs of how we will reach the agreement’s goals by the year 2020.

  1. The 2015 Paris Agreement is a historic crossroads for worldwide governments. The level of cooperation to achieve the ultimate goal of limiting warming to well below 2° C or 1.5° C is unprecedented and is meant to help future generations in their climate change planning.
  2. Prevention is better than cure; any actions conducted to reduce climate change should be paired with sustainable development practices. In the long term, these initiatives will have the highest levels of success if we can adopt more sustainable practices for food, water and energy production.
  3. Each country will be introducing national policies and guidelines relating to keeping emissions low and encouraging sustainable development.
  4. Financial and technological development support is planned to be available to developing countries to assure they can reach their goals.
  5. Stakeholder groups and institutions may need bolstering so they are adequately able to plan and implement their climate change activities.
  6. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process will assist countries to work collaboratively and their platform will provide resources to assist every step of the way.

Government-funded scientists believe that our nations have a very short time – around 15 years – to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions before dangerous climate effects result. The guidelines set by the UN suggest that we will not be doing this alone, describing the success of the agreement as based on creating relationships of synergy with our neighbours, and of course leaning on the UN’s guidelines for support.

With The World Meteorological Organization recently confirming that the atmospheric average global concentration of carbon dioxide hit an all time high in 2016, we can safely assume that, as a planet, we are not nearly on track meet these targets.

Only time will reveal the success of this landmark agreement, but for the time being governments of the world say that we are committed to putting our best foot forward towards a sustainable future.

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day