The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on December 12, 2015 and entered into force on November 4, 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.
The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
How does the Paris Agreement work?
Implementation of the Paris Agreement requires economic and social transformation, based on the best available science.
The Paris Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. Countries submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Countries also communicate in the NDCs actions they will take to build resilience to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.
To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the 1aris Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).
LT-LEDS provide the long-term horizon to the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory. Nevertheless, they place the NDCs into the context of countries’ long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.
Global Stocktake explainer
With the Paris Agreement, countries established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF). Under ETF, starting in 2024, countries will report transparently on actions taken and progress in climate change mitigation, adaptation measures and support provided or received. It also provides for international procedures for the review of the submitted reports.
The information gathered through the ETF will feed into the Global stocktake which will assess the collective progress towards the long-term climate goals. This will lead to recommendations for countries to set more ambitious plans in the next round.
What is achieved so far?
Although climate change action needs to be massively increased to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the years since its entry into force have already sparked low carbon solutions and new markets. More and more countries, regions, cities and companies are establishing carbon neutrality targets. Zero-carbon solutions are becoming competitive across economic sectors representing 25% of emissions. This trend is most noticeable in the power and transport sectors and has created many new business opportunities for early movers.
By 2030, zero-carbon solutions could be competitive in sectors representing over 70% of global emissions.
AIPA of India:
In another move that re-affirms India’s seriousness to 'walk the talk’ on climate change, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC.
The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
Another key function of AIPA would be to operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, formulate guidelines for consideration of projects or activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism, and other similar instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs. It will take note of the contributions of the private sector as well as multi-/bi-lateral agencies in the field of climate change and provide guidance for aligning their climate actions with national priorities.
The year 2021 would mark the beginning of implementation of the Paris Agreement and constitution of AIPA is central to strengthening the national systems and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of climate actions. It will also ensure that India maintains its climate leadership as one the few countries in the world whose climate actions are consistent with the goals