Definition

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that seeks to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The agreement is sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and went into effect November 4, 2016. According to the UNFCCC, the agreement seeks to limit temperature increases in the 21st century to below 2 degrees Celsius and encourage initiatives that bring the increase down to 1.5 degrees Celsius or lower.

The Paris Agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty signed in 1997 that was also intended to mitigate the risks of greenhouse gas emission. All countries participating in the Paris Agreement are expected to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs). 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 UNFCCC will report on progress to limit the greenhouse effect worldwide.

In addition to long-term temperature goals, key aspects of the Paris Agreement include the responsibility of developed countries to support the efforts of developing countries and a framework for climate change education and training that emphasizes public awareness, public participation and public access to information.

This was last updated in June 2017

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