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International Climate Negotiations & COP21: the Paris Agreement

Posted: 15 December 2015

195 countries have reached the Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of the parties and that was published on 12th December 2015. The agreement binds all parties and established a common and global goal to ‘strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change’.

All parties agreed to joint efforts to maintain the temperature rise below 2°C, and possibly below 1.5°C by the end of the century, while providing flexibility taking into account particular national circumstances and needs. Thus, there is global momentum to fight climate change and adopt strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to be implemented through ‘intended national determined contributions’ (INDCs).

This momentum provides a stronger support to the EU’s ambitious climate and energy policy, as all parties are to establish INDC and make them known to the UNFCCC secretariat. However, national mitigation targets are not binding internationally, thus leaving it to countries to effectively implement adopted strategies. One of the critical points is to organise a legally binding system for monitoring, reporting and verifying to control that governments are implementing their strategy.

On that occasion, Commissioner for Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, further stated the importance of clean energy as the key driver to mitigate climate change impacts. The outcome of the Paris agreement will reinforce the EU’s aim to be the leader in this fight and confirms political intentions towards a more stringent emissions trading scheme. Climate financing still remains an important topic to tackle.

An Ad Hoc Working Group will be responsible to seeing to the implementation and respect of the Paris Agreement and bridge with the next COP meeting, foreseen from 7th to 18th November 2016 in Marrakech (Morocco).