On December 12, 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. At the time, the Paris Agreement was hailed as a major milestone in the global fight against climate change.
However, since then, the United States, the world`s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, has withdrawn from the agreement under the Trump administration. This move sparked concern around the world about the future of the agreement and its ability to achieve its goals.
Recently, the countries that are still part of the Paris Agreement gathered in Madrid for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP25, to evaluate the progress made since 2015 and set the agenda for the future.
One of the main issues discussed at COP25 was the so-called Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which deals with carbon markets. The idea behind carbon markets is that if countries can`t reduce their own emissions enough, they can buy credits from other countries that are emitting less than they are. However, there are concerns that these markets could be used to game the system and that they could lead to a race to the bottom in terms of environmental standards.
Another major issue discussed at COP25 was the need to increase ambition in terms of emissions reductions. Currently, the pledges made by countries under the Paris Agreement are not enough to meet the 2-degree goal, let alone the more ambitious 1.5-degree goal that many scientists and activists are calling for.
To address this issue, the United Nations has launched the “Climate Ambition Alliance,” which aims to bring together governments, businesses, and civil society organizations committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The alliance currently consists of 73 countries, 12 regions, 398 cities, and 786 businesses and investors.
In addition to these issues, COP25 also addressed the urgent need to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, more frequent hurricanes, and longer droughts. Developing countries, in particular, are struggling to cope with these impacts, and they are calling for more support from wealthy countries that have historically been the biggest emitters.
Overall, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change remains an important framework for global action on climate change. However, much more needs to be done in order to achieve its ambitious goals. As we enter a new decade, it is critical that we evaluate the changes that have been made to the agreement and work together to find innovative solutions to the complex challenges ahead.