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  • Negotiations held in the framework of the yearly UNFCCC, on the measures to be taken after the second commitment period under Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2020, resulted in the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
  • Paris Agreement is a separate instrument under the UNFCCC rather than an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • 174 countries and the European Union have signed up the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The key elements of the Paris deal are explained below: 

Temperature Goals

  • The objective of the Agreement is to keep the global temperature rise ‘well below’ 2 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
  • At this level, scientists believe that the worst effects of climate change can be avoided.
  • The Agreement also includes an aspirational goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degree celsius.
  • Temperatures have already risen by almost 1 degree celsius since the Industrial Revolution.

Individual Targets

  • Countries are required to set their own national targets (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Those targets aren’t legally binding, but the countries must report on their progress and update their targets every five years. The first cycle will begin in 2020.
  • Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms. Developing nations are ‘encouraged’ to do so as their capabilities evolve over time.


  • There is no penalty if the countries miss their emission targets. Instead, the Agreement relies on the transparency rules to motivate countries to fulfil their pledges.
  • All countries must report on their efforts to reduce their emissions.


  • The Agreement says that the wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help the poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the Agreement itself, but the wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in lieu of climate change by 2020.

Loss and Damage

  • To address the concern of small island nations threatened by rising seas, the Agreement includes a section recognising ‘loss and damage’ associated with climate-related disasters.
  • The United States has objected to address the issue in the Agreement, worrying that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events.

Present Status of Green Climate Fund (GCF) as on 1st January 2017

  • Industrialised countries have committed $100 billion per year by 2020 for GCF to help developing countries invest in green energy and mitigate the effects of climate change on developing countries.
  • However, the GCF has so far raised only $10 billion and allocated money to about eight projects since it has been set up.

Requirement for Paris Agreement to Come into Force

  • To come into force, the Paris Agreement needs ratification from 55 countries that account for at least 55 per cent of Earth’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The agreement has already been ratified by more than 55 countries emitting more than 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • India ratified the agreement on 2nd October, 2016.                            PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT (2015)


Environment & Biodiversity

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