The Paris Agreement Progress

The increase in emissions has been much smaller than in the past two years, but the continued increase means the world is still far from meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which would require emissions to peak and then decline rapidly to net zero by mid-century. At the same time, progress on climate protection has not been fast enough. Every five years, countries will assess their progress in implementing the agreement through a process known as the global inventory; the first is scheduled for 2023. Countries set their own goals and there are no implementation mechanisms to ensure that they pursue them. Commits to reducing emissions by 29% for agriculture by 2030 and compared to a business as usual scenario, 31% for energy and 21% for forests and land use. But the treaty did not require developing countries, including the major carbon emitters China and India, to act. The United States signed the agreement in 1998, but never ratified it and then withdrew its signature. “Abandoning the Paris Agreement is cruel to future generations,” Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, said of the Trump administration`s move to formally withdraw the United States from the agreement. The U.S. will lose jobs and the much stronger economy that will bring a low-carbon future, Steer said in a statement.

Yes, there is a broad consensus within the scientific community, although some deny that climate change is a problem, including politicians in the United States. We are monitoring progress towards the overall goal of keeping warming well below 2°C and monitoring efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Not only does the agreement formalise the process of drawing up national plans, but it also includes a binding obligation to assess and verify progress in these plans. This mechanism will require countries to continuously improve their commitments and ensure that there will be no backsliding. Published today as an article in the journal Bioscience, it contains six critical steps to reduce the worst effects of climate change and 29 “vital signs” to track progress. These vital signs are available in the form of graphs that document different human activities over the past 40 years that have contributed to climate change, such as energy consumption, deforestation and air transport.