The Two Sides Of The Paris Climate Agreement

The initial commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was extended until 2012. This year, at COP18 in Doha, Qatar, delegates agreed to extend the agreement until 2020 (without some industrialized countries withdrawing). They also reaffirmed their commitment made at COP17 in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, to create a new global climate treaty by 2015 that would require all major emitters not included in the Kyoto Protocol, such as China, India and the United States, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The new treaty – which was to become the Paris Agreement – was to completely replace the Kyoto Protocol by 2020. However, the Paris agreement came into force earlier than expected in November 2016. To contribute to the goals of the agreement, countries presented comprehensive national climate change plans (national fixed contributions, NDC). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points to the way forward for further measures. But let`s take a closer look at this new universal climate agreement. There is a lot of misinformation about the Paris agreement, including the idea that it will hurt the U.S. economy. It was a series of unsubstantiated assertions that Trump repeated in his rose garden speech in 2017, arguing that the deal would cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion in jobs by 2040 and $2.7 million by 2025, making us less competitive with China and India. But, as the auditors pointed out, these statistics come from a March 2017 unmasked study that exaggerated the future cost of reducing emissions, underestimated advances in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, and was completely unaware of the enormous health and economic costs of climate change itself.

Countries must, among other things, report on their greenhouse gas inventories and their progress against their targets, so that external experts can assess their success. Countries should also review their commitments by 2020 and present new targets every five years to further reduce emissions. They must participate in a “comprehensive state of affairs” to measure collective efforts in order to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. In the meantime, developed countries must also assess the financial assistance they will provide to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. Finally, one of the biggest disappointments, although expected, was the section on finance.

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