Definition

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international agreement intended to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and combat global climate change. It replaces the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty signed in 1997 that was also intended to mitigate the risks of greenhouse gas emission. The Paris Agreement aims to accelerate and intensify global response to climate change through technical, financial, industrial and other means.

The Paris Agreement was agreed upon by 195 countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 12, 2015. It went into effect November 4, 2016 and, as of early 2017, more than 130 countries have ratified the agreement. The goal, according to the UNFCC, is to limit temperature increases in the 21st century to below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing further initiatives to limit that increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

All countries participating in the Paris Agreement are expected to make what is called "nationally determined contributions" -- or their own, domestic efforts toward meeting the Agreement's goals. These contributions include regular reports on gas emissions and efforts and timeframes to reduce them. Starting in 2023, and then every five years after that, the UNFCC will perform a "global stocktake" to gauge progress worldwide. Participating parties, which include Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Africa, Somalia, the United States, are also expected to provide an update in 2018 on their national efforts.

The impact of the Paris Agreement on data centers

Renewable energy and a reduced carbon footprint are at the center of The Paris Agreement. Data center operators around the world must consider ways to reduce carbon emissions, depending on the country in which they operate. One approach is the green data center. The purpose of the green data center aligns with the goal of the Paris Agreement, it is designed to minimize environmental impact through the use of low-emission building materials, catalytic converters and alternative energy technologies.

The data center industry has made a push toward using more renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power, in recent years. Implementing a smart meter or data center infrastructure management tool can also help information technology (IT) teams track power consumption in the data center.

This was last updated in February 2017

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