COP 21 under UNFCCC adopted Paris Agreement on Climate Change

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Who: Paris Agreement on Climate Change
Where: Paris, France
What: Adopted by UNFCCC COP 21
When: 12 December 2015
Why: To keep global avg temperature below 2 degree celcius

Conference of the Parties 21 (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 12 December 2015 adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which was attended by 192 parties. India was represented by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.

The agreement facilitates enforcement of global green house emission reduction measures in the post-2020 (post Kyoto Protocol) scenario. It was prepared based on consensus among the parties incorporatingIntended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the respective parties including that of India.

And, the agreement took into account the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the light of different national circumstances.

Highlights of Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Objectives: The primary objective of the protocol is to limit the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
• Efforts will be made to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels so that it will be possible to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
• Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases including forests.
Adoption: With a view to contributing to sustainable development and to achieve the long term temperature goal of 2 °C the COP established the global goal on adaptation of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
Mitigation: Parties recognized the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.
Technology Transfer: Parties share a long-term vision on the importance of fully realizing technology development and transfer in order to improve resilience to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Capacity-Building: It should be country-driven based on and responsive to national, sub national and local needs.
Financing: Developed countries will raise finances to the tune of 100 billion US dollars per year as the floor by 2020, to help developing nations in both mitigation and adaptation activities. And, other nations are encouraged to provide funding voluntarily.
Implementation: A mechanism to facilitate implementation of and promote compliance with the provisions of this Agreement is hereby established.
Review: The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall undertake its first global stock take in 2023 and every five years thereafter.
Signing & Ratification: It shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017. Thereafter, this Agreement shall be open for accession from the day following the date on which it is closed for signature.
Enforcement: This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Conventionaccounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Significance of the agreement

• The global environmental protocol took into account the principle ofcommon but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) to ensure climate justice which has been advocated by India for a long time.
• It strikes the right balance between national developmental needs of developing and small island nations and global environmental necessities by incorporating the INDCs under which countries will publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take.
• It was adopted in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular its goal 13 that advocates for urgent action to combat climate change.