What Does Paris Agreement Do

December 20, 2020

The United States played an important role in the design and negotiation of the Paris Agreement and signed it in 2015. As one of its signatories, the United States has committed to reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025 from 1990 levels. However, in 2017, the federal government announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement after a new government took office, and on November 4, 2020, the United States became the only nation to withdraw. While the enhanced transparency framework is universal and the global inventory is carried out every five years, the framework must provide “integrated flexibility” to distinguish the capabilities of developed and developing countries. In this context, the Paris Agreement contains provisions to improve the capacity-building framework. [58] The agreement recognizes the different circumstances of some countries and notes, in particular, that the technical review of experts for each country takes into account the specific capacity of that country to report. [58] The agreement also develops a capacity-building initiative for transparency to help developing countries put in place the necessary institutions and procedures to comply with the transparency framework. [58] Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are gases that accumulate in the atmosphere and prevent radiation from the Earth`s surface to space, creating what is called the greenhouse effect. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main international panel on this issue, the concentration of these thermal gases has increased significantly since pre-industrial times and has not been observed for at least 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide (the main cause of climate change) has increased by 40 per cent, nitrous oxide by 20 per cent and methane by 150 per cent since 1750, mainly due to the burning of dirty fossil fuels. The IPCC says it is “extremely likely” that these emissions have been primarily responsible for the rise in global temperatures since the 1950s.

Meanwhile, deforestation and forest degradation have also contributed to their fair share of global carbon emissions. Under U.S. law, U.S. participation in an international agreement may be denounced by a president acting on the executive branch or by an act of Congress, regardless of how the United States acceded to the agreement. The Paris agreement stipulates that a party cannot withdraw from the agreement within the first three years of its entry into force.

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