Paris Climate Deal (Paris Agreement)

Paris Climate Deal (Paris Climate Accord or Paris agreement) is a globally accepted agreement to cut carbon emission rates in a well-determined timeline and manner. Paris climate Accord became the bedrock on which the future structure of climate change was to be built and thus gains immense importance

In this article, we will deal with the various perspectives of the Paris agreement for UPSC and other competitive exams, such as;


  • What is Paris Agreement?
  • Role and objective of Paris Climate Deal.
  • Historical Background regarding the genesis of the deal.
  • How does the Paris deal will work?
  • How countries supported each other.
  • Progress tracking mechanism.
  • Achievements so far.
  • India NDC.


What is Paris Agreement?

The Paris agreement (Paris Climate Deal or Paris Climate Accord) is a Legally Binding Treaty on Climate change. It was adopted in 2015 by 196 parties and came into force on 4th November 2016. It’s goal is to limit global emission to well below 2 degrees Celsius and most probably up to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level. The Paris climate deal comes into force after 30 days on which 55 Parties accounting for 55 % of the total greenhouse emission have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, and approval. To achieve this countries have to reach their peak as early as possible and move towards a climate-neutral world by mid-century. Paris Climate Deal is a landmark itself, because, for the first time, a binding agreement brought almost all nations of the world to a common cause of climate change and adapt its effect.


Role and Objective of Paris Climate Deal:

Countries around the world accepted the reality of climate change and come together to sign a historical deal to counter climate change-Paris Climate change deal. The goals of this agreement are:

  • Keep the Global temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius of Pre-industrial level.
  • Put efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Strengthen the capacity of developing countries to adopt the impact of Climate Change.

It may seem like a small change in temperature but it can make a big difference in the nature of Earth.


Historical Genesis:

The genesis of the Paris agreement starts from the Kyoto protocol (1997) because it leads the requirements of the Kyoto protocol in a legally binding manner for the future. But the main cause of Genesis starts from the UNFCCC COP17 held in Durban, 2012.

Genesis of Paris climate deal

How Paris Agreement is different from Kyoto Protocol?

Paris climate deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement in which both developed and developing countries participated. However, in the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries were not mandated to reduce their emission.

The Paris agreement is legally binding for all, However, the Kyoto protocol was not.

Paris deal continues with the conference of Parties (COP) and the Kyoto protocol continues with the conference of meeting of parties (CMP).


How Does the Paris agreement work?

Implementation of the Paris climate deal requires economic and social development. By 2020, countries had to submit their plans for climate action known as nationally determine Contribution (NDC).

NDC’s: In this, the countries need to mention their action plan to cut carbon emission to reach the goal of the Paris climate deal. In NDC, countries are also required to mention the resilience plan to adapt to the impact of climate change. It also includes various strategies towards climate neutral world.

Long-term Strategies:  To better frame a long-term goal, countries have to formulate and submit their long-term Greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS). Unlike NDC’s these are not mandatory. Nevertheless, countries place their NDCs and long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.


How countries supported each other:

As developing countries have not enough social, economic, and technological resources to meet the binding requirement of the Paris Agreement, Hence, there is a need for cooperation in the form of financial, technical, and capacity-building to support those countries who need it.

Finance: The Paris climate deal ensure that developed countries should take lead in providing financial assistance to more vulnerable, less endowed and also first time encouraged voluntary contribution to low developing countries. Finance is also provided for mitigation plans in spite of carbon emission reduction. It is also focused equally on adaptation mechanisms to adapt to the adverse effect and reduce the impact of a changing climate.

Technology: Paris climate deal fully recognizes the technology development and its transfer to counter climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It provides a mechanism through which countries with rich technical skills will provide ecological-sensitive technology to less technical countries.

Capacity Building: Not all countries are self-sufficient to meet the challenges of climate change. As a result, the Paris agreement put a great emphasis on climate-related capacity building for developing countries and request all countries to enhance support of developing countries for capacity building.


Progress tracking mechanism:

With the Paris climate deal, countries to establish an enhanced transparency framework (ETF). Under this (to be started from 2024), countries have to report transparently their climate emission-reducing, mitigation, and adaptation plan. It also provides an international procedure for the review of the submitted reports. The information provided through an enhanced transparency framework will assess the progress towards the long-term climate goals. This will lead to recommendations for countries to set a more ambitious plan in the next round.


Achievements so Far under Paris climate deal:

1. Earlier, only developed countries had the responsibility to cut down the carbon emissions but now all 196 countries have to reduce their carbon emissions as per their condition (mechanism of common but differential responsibility).

2. Developing countries demanding Loss and damage assistance. This demand meets by the Paris climate deal but does not become mandatory.

3. Due to the target of the Paris climate deal demand for wind, solar and hydro will grow.

4. Richer developing countries have started contributing to climate finance. Though china refused compulsory financing but accepted the voluntary contribution towards climate finance.    

5. Countries and cities of the world which experiencing the devastating effects of climate change start to adopt mitigation and adaptation plan towards climate change.


What did Paris Climate deal did not Achieve so far:

In spite of great achievements in the field of climate emission reduction and mitigation, there are still some challenges like:

  • INDC target voluntary that means no fines for failing to meet them.
  • Though UN approach is to promote renewable energy or carbon sink. but it does not call for restraining fossil fuel development.
  • INDC for rich countries is not enough to meet their historical obligations.
  • It focuses on the climate-neutral concept that means net carbon emission is not focused. Climate neural mainly contains that countries should neutralize their emission by mitigation measure forestation.
  • The promise of contributing $100bn annually to the Green Climate Fund by Developed countries are still unmet.
  • Target to control the temperature to a 2-degree increase does not suffice to counter the climate change effect in the 21st century.


India National Determine Contribution (NDC):

  • Reduction in emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • India will meet 40% of its power requirement from the non-fossil fuel-based resources.
  • India has also pledged to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2020.


Other mechanisms to control climate change:

1. Kyoto Protocol (1997)

2. Bali Action Plan (2007)

3. Copenhagen Accord (2009)

4. Can Cun Agreement (2010)

5. Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

6. Paris Agreement

Other mechanisms to control climate change


At last, the Paris climate deal is only the beginning of a shift towards a low-carbon world, and there is much more to do.


This article is written by;

Mr. Sachin

Selected as Assistant Commandant (UPSC CAPF 2019)

Also appeared for Civil Services Interview

Email: [email protected]