What is the Paris agreement? 6 fast facts.

Today at 3pm, the President of the United States will be announcing their decision on whether or not to remain bound by the Paris Agreement. 

Alternatively known as the Paris accord, here are 6 facts to know in the hopes of learning more and being able to then educate others. 

1. Who

The Paris Agreement treaty has been signed for approval by a majority of the members of the United Nations. Here is the entire list.

2. What

Here, just take a look for yourself. The following are copies of the original agreement: (select image to enlarge)

Summary: If you don’t have your time on your hands at the moment, the Paris Agreement is a treaty of nations across the world agreeing that climate change is scientifically based as being exacerbated by worldwide carbon emission, with the intent for participating countries to assign goal levels of national emission reduction in the hopes of slowing the dangerous warming of the planet. 

The specific aim is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change,”. (Paris Agreement, Article 2, p. 54)

3. When

Introduced: December 12, 2015

Up for signature: April 22, 2016 (open for a year)

Ratified/registered: November 4, 2016

4. Where

The treaty was introduced, as the name signals, in Paris, France in 2015. The Agreement had been open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York until last month. The performance of duties of the accord are to occur in the participatory nations, for the greater benefit of the globe. 

5. Why

3 examples of reasons climate change is being addressed:

• Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased almost 50 percent since 1990. (UN, Goal 13)

• Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. (UN, Goal 13)

• The impact of the warming of the planet, with millions of square kilometers of ice melt, projects a 4-foot sea level rise by 2100; with the shortening of frost seasons, lengthening of growth seasons, increased environmental pressure on the planet is altering ecosystems (some for the better in mid-range climates, and unhinging them in others). (NASA)

6. How

It is the responsibility of participating nations to determine their contribution goals and account for them.

“The mechanism to facilitate implementation…shall consist of a committee that shall be expert-based and facilitative in nature and function in a manner that is transparent, non-adversarial and non-punitive. The committee shall pay particular attention to the respective national capabilities and circumstances of Parties.” (Paris Agreement, Article 15, p. 70).

Thanks for taking the time to learn with us about the origin of the current climate conversation. 

P.S. Click here for entire the Paris Agreement PDF.

To the citizen,

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.