Paris Agreement International Negotiations

The Paris Agreement International Negotiations: A Comprehensive Guide

The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, is a historic agreement to combat climate change and its impact on the planet. The agreement was the result of years of negotiations between 196 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This article provides a comprehensive guide to the Paris Agreement and the international negotiations that led to its formation.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement also seeks to enhance the ability of countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to make finance flow consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient development.

The Paris Agreement replaces the previous climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and expired in 2020. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement is a universal agreement, meaning that all countries are required to take action, regardless of their level of economic development.

How were the negotiations conducted?

The negotiations towards the Paris Agreement were conducted in a series of meetings held under the UNFCCC. These meetings took place over a period of several years, and involved the participation of scientists, policy-makers, and civil society groups from around the world.

The negotiations were complex and at times contentious, as countries with different levels of economic development and different priorities attempted to reach a common ground. Developing countries argued that developed countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and should bear the lion`s share of the responsibility for reducing emissions and providing financial support for adaptation and mitigation efforts.

However, developed countries argued that all countries have a responsibility to reduce emissions as the effects of climate change will be felt globally and that economic growth should not be sacrificed to reduce emissions.

What are the key provisions of the Paris Agreement?

There are several key provisions of the Paris Agreement. Firstly, all countries are required to submit national plans for reducing their GHG emissions. These plans, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), are intended to be ambitious and represent a country`s best efforts to reduce its emissions.

Secondly, the Paris Agreement establishes a mechanism for countries to regularly review and enhance their NDCs. This will ensure that countries are continuously improving their efforts to reduce emissions, and that their contributions are in line with the long-term goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.

Thirdly, the Paris Agreement establishes a financial mechanism to support developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This mechanism is intended to be scaled up over time, with the goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020.

Fourthly, the Paris Agreement establishes a transparency and accountability mechanism, which includes a robust system of reporting, review, and verification to ensure that countries are meeting their commitments.


The Paris Agreement is a crucial step towards combatting climate change, and its success depends on the continued efforts of all countries to reduce their emissions and support each other in their adaptation and mitigation efforts. The negotiations towards the agreement were lengthy and complex, reflecting the diverse interests and priorities of the countries involved. However, the end result is a universal agreement that provides a framework for global action on climate change.

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