Climate Action

Paris Agreement

Policy

At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

United Nations flag © Comstock

The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Key elements

The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.

Mitigation: reducing emissions

Governments agreed

  • a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
  • on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
  • to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.

Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (INDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this target.

Transparency and global stocktake

Governments agreed to

  • come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science;
  • report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets;
  • track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.

Adaptation

Governments agreed to

  • strengthen societies' ability to deal with the impacts of climate change;  
  • provide continued and enhanced international support for adaptation to developing countries.  

Loss and damage

The agreement also

  • recognises the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change;
  • acknowledges the need to cooperate and enhance the understanding, action and support in different areas such as early warning systems, emergency preparedness and risk insurance.

Role of cities, regions and local authorities

The agreement recognises the role of non-Party stakeholders in addressing climate change, including cities, other subnational authorities, civil society, the private sector and others. 

They are invited to

  • scale up their efforts and support actions to reduce emissions;
  • build resilience and decrease vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change;
  • uphold and promote regional and international cooperation.

Support

  • The EU and other developed countries will continue to support climate action to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts in developing countries.
  • Other countries are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.
  • Developed countries intend to continue their existing collective goal to mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020 and extend this until 2025. A new and higher goal will be set for after this period.

Questions and answers on the Paris Agreement

Lima-Paris Action Agenda

This initiative of the Peruvian and French COP Presidencies brought countries, cities, businesses and civil society members together to accelerate cooperative climate action in support of the new agreement.

Examples of major announcements
Paris Pledge for Action

EU's role

The EU has been at the forefront of international efforts towards a global climate deal.

Following limited participation in the Kyoto Protocol and the lack of agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, the EU has been building a broad coalition of developed and developing countries in favour of high ambition that shaped the successful outcome of the Paris conference.

The EU was the first major economy to submit its intended contribution to the new agreement in March 2015. It is already taking steps to implement its target to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

EU Climate Action at COP21 (Storify)
How the EU helped build the ambition coalition (Storify)
Action areas at EU & international level

Next steps

  • The agreement opened for signature for one year on 22 April 2016.
  • To enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions had to deposit their instruments of ratification.
  • On 5 October, the EU formally ratified the Paris Agreement, thus enabling its entry into force on 4 November 2016.
Documentation

EU vision for the Paris Protocol

Consultative Communication

Durban Platform

EU submissions