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The Paris Agreement after Five Years of Its Implementation

Five years ago, the world agreed to a very ambitious agreement on climate change known as the Paris Agreement and it was a mission to get everyone on board and contribute to bringing about a change. The world was facing ever-growing greenhouse gas emissions leading to changes in the global temperatures and making it seem impossible to achieve the agreement.  It was an agreement by 196 countries that was signed in 2015 at the COP21 United Nations Climate Change. This was the first of its kind agreement binding countries in working together to control climate change to save the world from the horrible effects of global warming.

Countries under the agreement agreed to keep the global average temperature below 2 degrees while would also aim to keep it at 1.5 degrees. The reduction of even half a degree would also make a huge difference for the environment which would help in transforming the global economy.  The agreement made all countries submit an individual plan called the ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ in order to reach solutions to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. However, the part that made it hard to achieve was the flexibility of the countries to alter the action plan in order to meet their circumstances. For example- the focus of the plan for a coal-rich country would be to find renewables while a forest-rich country would focus on reducing its activities that would help fight deforestation. Therefore, every NDC would be unique for every country that was a part of the agreement. Besides, the fact that this agreement is not legally binding but has a major part that is politically encouraged, and an active part of political party manifestoes,  there is no set penalty in case a country falls behind in achieving its set goals. 

Fighting climate action is still proving to be a task as there is no proof of decreasing greenhouse gases since 2015, adding to it is billions of tons of CO2 according to the Global Carbon Project. The increase is a result of developing economies and a major bunch of developed countries failing to meet their set goals.  According to the UN emissions gap report, 2019 saw a record high rise of carbon dioxide greenhouse gases and land use. There is anticipation by the UN that the coronavirus pandemic would reduce emissions by 7 percent due to reduced economic activity. The world has yet to work on its goals of climate change and help the world heal from the damages caused to date.