Das Pariser Abkommen - Übersicht und Kritik
The average global temperature has increased 1.2°C since the industrial revolution. Limiting the average global temperature increase to below 1.5°C is the most important task of our time. Failure to do so could see us reach tipping points which could accelerate global climate change out of control. We need to radically reduce global emissions. To achieve this goal, the Paris Agreement was negotiated in 2015, in which the global community agreed on the 1.5°C target. However, recent analysis shows that neither current policies nor the planned actions of the Paris Agreement are sufficient. Global greenhouse gas emissions remain far too high, with no turnaround in sight despite many assurances.
Why, despite the Paris Agreement, are we not succeeding in effectively limiting climate change? What could a new approach look like? Find out in this and the following texts.
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The Paris Agreement was concluded in 2015 between 195 countries plus the European Union and forms a binding treaty under international law. It is the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated in 1990 and entered into force in 2005. Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan and regularly report on the contribution it is making to mitigating climate change (Nationally Determined Contributions = NDCs). No mechanism obligates a country to set a specific emissions target by a certain date, but each target should exceed previously established goals.
§2 of the Paris Agreement sets three main goals:
1. Limiting the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C and ideally below 1.5°C
2. Increasing investment in adaptation measures to the consequences of climate change
3. More investment in sustainable technologies and less investment and subsidies in fossil technologies
Why are we criticizing the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is insufficient to meet the agreed 2°C target, let alone the more ambitious 1.5°C target. While the agreement is a step forward from a political and diplomatic point of view, these aspirational targets come with no mandatory measures to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Each country independently determines how much it is willing to contribute to the collective effort (NDCs).
The result of this approach is sobering: current country contributions are taking us towards over 3°C1. This article explains how the Paris Agreement is structured, what its core objectives are, and why it cannot work in its current form to achieve the targeted levels.
Unfortunately, the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement are not matched by appropriate mechanisms to achieve them. Since each country sets its own targets, it is primarily guided by its own interests. However, for each country, the costs of its actions are borne entirely by itself, while the benefits accrue to the entire global community. If each country acts selfishly, it is to be expected that the joint efforts will not be sufficient (see the articleAnalysis") Studies show that this is precisely the problem with NDCs2.
Every two years, each country must report whether the goals it has set for itself have been achieved. Since some of the countries' targets vary widely, they cannot always be compared in a meaningful way.
Another problem is that there is no real sanction mechanism for countries that miss their targets. Instead of penalties, countries that fail to meet their targets are publicly named and pilloried. It highlights the underlying problem more than it solves it and is not very effective for several reasons:
1. Naming and shaming can only create public pressure
2. National climate protection efforts are hardly comparable
3. The mechanism allows countries to set less ambitious targets
In summary, the Paris Agreement does not show a path that can reduce emissions effectively or to the necessary levels. The efforts of individual countries are neither coordinated nor sufficient to reach the 1.5°C target.
We urgently need a global climate policy that relies on cooperation to solve this global crisis!