The Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015 by 195 countries, was hailed as a landmark deal to combat global warming. The goal of the agreement was to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the question remains: has the Paris Agreement been successful to date?
One way to measure the success of the Paris Agreement is to look at the progress made by countries in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Under the agreement, countries are required to submit national plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), outlining their efforts to reduce emissions. As of 2021, 191 countries have submitted their NDCs, with many committing to ambitious targets.
However, despite these pledges, the current trajectory of global emissions still puts us on a path to a 3-degree Celsius temperature rise, well above the Paris Agreement`s target. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently reported that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continued to rise in 2020, despite the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another way to measure the success of the Paris Agreement is to look at the level of international cooperation and political will it has generated. The agreement has brought together countries from around the world in a common effort to address the threat of climate change. It has also spurred action from businesses, cities, and other non-state actors, who have made their own commitments to reduce emissions.
However, the Paris Agreement is not legally binding, and it relies on voluntary commitments from countries. There is a risk that some countries may not follow through on their commitments, or may even withdraw from the agreement altogether. The United States, for example, withdrew from the agreement in 2017 under the Trump administration, although it has since re-joined under the Biden administration.
In conclusion, while the Paris Agreement has generated significant political will and commitments from countries around the world, progress towards its goals has been slow. We are still on a path towards a dangerous level of warming, and urgent action is needed to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The success of the Paris Agreement ultimately depends on the actions taken by individual countries, and on their ability to work together towards a common goal.