Explainer: What's in the Paris climate deal? - Macleans.ca

Explainer: What’s in the Paris climate deal?

Four months after negotiating a global climate agreement in Paris, government officials will sign it today

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12: Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres (L 2), Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon (C), Foreign Affairs Minister and President-designate of COP21 Laurent Fabius (R 2), and France's President Francois Hollande (R) raise hands together after adoption of a historic global warming pact at the COP21 Climate Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on December 12, 2015. Arnaud BOUISSOU/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Christiana Figueres (L 2), Ban Ki Moon (C), Laurent Fabius (R 2), and  Francois Hollande (R) raise hands after adoption of a historic global warming pact at the COP21 Climate Conference on December 12, 2015. (Arnaud Boissou, Getty)

NEW YORK — Four months after negotiating a global climate agreement in Paris, government officials are coming to New York on Friday to sign the pact in a ceremony at the United Nations.

Here are some of the key elements of the Paris deal, which is the first agreement requiring all countries to join the fight against global warming.


The objective of the agreement is to keep the global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial times. At that level, scientists believe the worst effects of climate change can be avoided. The agreement also includes an aspirational goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). Temperatures have already risen by almost 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) since the industrial revolution.


Countries are required to set national targets for reducing or reining in their greenhouse gas emissions. Those targets aren’t legally binding, but countries must report on their progress and update their targets every five years. The first cycle begins in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms. Developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time.


There is no penalty if countries miss their emissions targets. Instead, the agreement relies on transparency rules to motivate countries to fulfil their pledges. All countries must report on their efforts to reduce their emissions. But some “flexibility” is allowed for developing countries that need it, which was a key demand from China.


The agreement says wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. It also encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis. That paves the way for emerging economies such as China to contribute, even though it doesn’t require them to do so. Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the agreement itself, but wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020.


In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing “loss and damage” associated with climate-related disasters. The U.S. long objected to addressing the issue in the agreement, worried that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events. In the end, the issue was included, but a footnote specifically stated that loss and damage does not involve liability or compensation.


The agreement will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions have completed the ratification process. It’s possible to withdraw from the treaty, but not in the first three years after it enters into force. There’s also a one-year notice period, so the earliest a country could drop out is four years after the agreement has come into effect.


Explainer: What’s in the Paris climate deal?

  1. The only “goal” of the Paris agreement, is to separate Western nations from their money, and give it to third world crap-holes as per the UN’s direction.

    What harper said about Kyoto, applies equally to this agreement as well. “Kyoto is just a wealth distribution scheme”

    This agreement will NOT stop increases in CO2 (an essential gas), but it will stop people from wasting their money on silly things like food, home heating, driving..etc.

    In honour of EARTH DAY….I am going to put on all the lights.

  2. Ok, so I just posted the comment above.

    and not 5 minutes later, there was a dude on the CBC saying exactly what I wrote below. He admitted the goal of the agreement is to take billions from the West and “distribute it to developing nations”

    No surprises there.

    For your reading pleasure.


    I’m particularly fond of this paragraph: More to follow

    Another U.N. official has admitted that the U.N. seeks to “redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.” The former head of the U.N. climate panel also recently declared that global warming “is my religion.”

  3. In fact,

    The evidence that global warming is a sham is all over the place; but you won’t hear this on the CBC, or any other media. it goes against the narrative.

  4. Victory is at hand! With the signing of the Paris accord, the earth’s thermostat has been reset!

    Rejoice comrades, rejoice!