The Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015, was a watershed moment in global efforts to combat climate change. The agreement, which was ratified by nearly every country in the world, committed signatories to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
One of the key objectives of the Paris Agreement was to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this goal, countries set voluntary emissions reduction targets known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These targets were supposed to be updated every five years to ensure that they remain ambitious and effective in reducing emissions.
So, how have global emissions fared since the Paris Agreement was signed? The answer is mixed. On the one hand, there has been modest progress in reducing emissions in some countries, particularly in the European Union and in China. However, on the other hand, global emissions have continued to rise, and in some cases, at an alarming rate.
According to the Global Carbon Project, global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise by 2.7% in 2018. This follows an increase of 1.6% in 2017, which ended a three-year period of relatively stable emissions. If this trend continues, it will become increasingly difficult to limit global warming to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
There are several reasons why global emissions have continued to rise despite the Paris Agreement. Firstly, many countries have not met their NDCs, or have set targets that are too weak to achieve the goals of the agreement. Secondly, some countries have increased their emissions in recent years, particularly in Asia, as a result of economic growth and industrialization. Finally, there has been a lack of political will in some countries to make the necessary policy changes to reduce emissions.
To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, it is clear that global emissions must be reduced significantly and rapidly. This will require a concerted effort from all countries, as well as from businesses and individuals. Governments must set ambitious emissions reduction targets and implement policies to achieve them, while businesses must invest in renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies. Individuals can also play a role by reducing their carbon footprint through actions such as using public transport, eating a plant-based diet, and reducing energy use in their homes.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement was a historic moment in the global fight against climate change, but it is clear that more needs to be done to reduce emissions. Governments, businesses, and individuals must work together to ensure that the goals of the agreement are met, and that the world we leave for future generations is a sustainable and livable one.