So what’s the Paris Agreement about?

(470 words. About 2 mins read)

Climate change is a very hot topic and it always gets bundled along with the Paris Agreement in news coverage. So we read that countries are coming together to pledge their commitment to the Paris Agreement. Apart from this, there’s also the recent news coverage on how the USA (under Trump) wanted out of the agreement and then later, the USA (under Biden) wanted to rejoin the agreement.  

Most of us already know more or less something about climate change but how exactly does the Paris Agreement come into play in relation to mitigating climate change risk? First of all, why even name it “The Paris Agreement”? The agreement is named as such because the world leaders gathered in Paris, to negotiate and sign this agreement. And because of its name, it sparked some debates online that the Paris Agreement benefits the French citizens and hurts the American citizens. I was really very curious about it and did some research. However, most of the news sources were politically motivated therefore I wasn’t clear if I could trust any of those sources. 

As such, I directly searched for the actual Paris Agreement document and vetted through the details. There really wasn’t any indications within the document about how the French will benefit from this international agreement other than the marketing of the word “Paris”. The word “France” did not appear in the document. The word “French” appeared one time and it was used to indicate that the agreement had a French version. The word “Paris” appeared two times, once in the title on the first page and the second time it appeared was to indicate where the agreement was signed. 

The naming is related to the location where it was being discussed and signed but getting onboard means that there’s a lot of work in mitigating greenhouse emission. A country that is heavily reliant on fossil fuel for their energy needs, will find it costly to sign onto the Paris Agreement. Commitment could mean deep investments into alternative energy sources and such transfers might increase the cost of energy in the short run.

The main aim of this agreement is for these countries to commit to global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C (UNFCCC, n.d.). With this agreement, the countries will try to support each other in several ways:

  1. Financial assistance – extended to countries that are less endowed and more vulnerable; 
  2. Capacity building – enhance support for capacity-building actions in developing countries; and 
  3. Technology – establishes a technology framework accelerating technology development and transfer. 

So with these mechanisms in place, the committed countries hope to reduce carbon emission which many strongly believe will lead to rising sea level and superstorms that predictive models are forecasting. So what’s your take on the Paris Agreement? Let me know about it too!

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References

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-10/what-biden-s-win-means-for-paris-climate-agreement-quicktake

Climate Change: Definition of Climate Change by Oxford Dictionary on Lexico.com also meaning of Climate Change. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lexico.com/definition/climate_change

Kennedy, K. (2016, December 13). Here Are the 10 Most Popular Climate Change Conspiracy Theories. Retrieved from https://www.inverse.com/article/24714-10-most-popular-climate-change-conspiracy-theories

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