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The Paris Agreement is the worldwide agreement adopted to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC on 12 December 2015 under the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It covers the measures to be taken for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2020.
It is considered to be an historic deal with a landmark goal. In the months and weeks leading up to this historic agreement, communities around the world voiced their hopes and concerns relating to the need for governments to take action at the 21st COP in Paris, and various impasses during the talks were in part overcome by community mobilisation during the lead-up to the agreement.
What the agreement contains
The agreement has resolved to hold the temperature increase to 1.5ºC above the pre-industrial levels, and to try to keep it under this level. Many of the parties to the agreement have submitted pledges for reducing GHG emissions covering the following 10 to 15 years.
Financing will continue from developed countries for developing countries (defined in 1992 under the UNFCCC). This financing will assist in adaptation and emissions cuts.
The parties to the agreement will revisit the existing emission cut pledges by 2020, and every 5 years following 2020. Collectively, the pledges given will not alone result in a 1.5 degree target. Thus, the reviews are an essential part of refining and improving upon global action to combat climate change.
The role of citizens and other non-governmental entities
Much of the momentum behind the Paris Agreement was driven by citizens (including the divestment campaign, climate marches, etc.), local government, businesses and NGOs.
- Mayoral agreement - Almost 1000 mayors have signed up to an agreement for 100% renewable energy usage
- Google has signed up to 100 percent renewable energy usage by 2025
It is considered that all such efforts made a difference, by showing the negotiating governments that people care about climate change impacts and want real action to reduce these.
Text of the adopted agreement: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf