The Paris Climate Agreement is an international treaty that was adopted by 196 countries in December 2015. It was signed with the aim to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The agreement was the culmination of years of negotiations among nations, which began in 1992 with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was during these negotiations that the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) was introduced. CBDR recognizes that developed countries, who are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions, have a greater responsibility to take action to mitigate climate change.
While the process leading up to the Paris Climate Agreement was global, there were a few key players involved in the negotiations that were instrumental in shaping the final agreement.
The United States was a significant player in the Paris Agreement negotiations. The Obama administration was committed to tackling climate change and played an active role in the negotiations, particularly in the final days leading up to the agreement’s adoption. The US pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was also a key player in the negotiations. The country pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 and to increase its use of non-fossil fuel sources to 20% by the same year.
The European Union was another major participant in the negotiations. The EU pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Smaller countries, including island nations, were also instrumental in the negotiations. These countries, which are often most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, pushed for more ambitious targets to limit global warming.
The Paris Climate Agreement was a collaborative effort from countries all around the world. While some countries played a larger role in the negotiations than others, the agreement was the result of a collective effort to address the urgent issue of climate change.