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The Paris Agreement is working as intended, but we’ve still got a long way to go

The Paris Agreement is working as intended, but we’ve still got a long way to go

An aerial view of burned down houses and smoking trees, surrounded by pale yellow fields.

Well, this is beginning to feel old: 2021 was another year of climate catastrophes — Just like the one before..

Another year of FiresAnd FloodsWith more 2022 is beckoning. As last year, there are desperate pleas for 2022 to be a Year of Accelerated climate action. It must be in so many different ways (technologically social, economic, and political) if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Yet one thing that’s different in 2022 than years past is that we we now have a completed, functioning global climate treaty. At the November 2021 COP26 meeting in GlasgowThe Paris Agreement was then finalized by the international community.

An aerial view of burned down houses and smoking trees, surrounded by pale yellow fields.
After it was destroyed by wildfires Dec. 31, 2021, Boulder County, Colo., remains a ghostly neighborhood. Wildfires are not common in this area in mid-winter. However, the state has been experiencing a prolonged drought.
(Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio via AP, Pool)

This news was met with confusion by much of the world, or at the very least, the media in North America. CNNThe EconomistThe Globe and MailEven better! CBC Kids ran stories asking the same question: “Was COP26 a Success?”

The consensus that emerged in the media and among columnists was that some progress was made even if it didn’t fix climate change. Environmental activists were more certain. COP26 was a failure.

Both reactions are acceptable because they reflect two facts about climate action that coexist uncomfortably.

Paris is a tool, not an end.

The Paris Agreement is a Climate action in contextIt is not the action that is important, but the process itself. Its main substance is a consensus goal (keep the temperature at 1.5 C) and it mandates countries to comply. Create their own climate plansThey have done a lot of this, and some have even managed to do it. Since 2015, we have ratcheted them up.

It also provides infrastructure Monitoring of plans and collective reporting with common metrics, for taking stock of how states’ commitments translate to the overarching goal, for developing a global carbon marketAnd Mobilizing finance for the Global South. Most of this is in place now, after Glasgow.

Yay! The Paris Agreement is working … and yet the climate is still burning.

The Paris Agreement may not work perfectly. states’ individual efforts can still come up short. The Paris Agreement is only a means to an end.

A man wades through a flooded field with several dwellings in the background.
Climate change is being blamed in some of the worst floods in South Sudan in over 60 years. Scientists believe global warming-linked changes made in a weather pattern called Indian Ocean Dipole in 2019 and 2020 led to extensive bushfires in Australia and extreme flooding across East Africa.
(AP Photo/Adrienne Surprenant)

This global institutional context must be transformed into a global response to climate changes. It requires ambitious national action. If states increase their ambition and implement their climate plans, the Paris Agreement can be a success in a wider sense. That’s the whole ballgame. Fortunately, the Paris Agreement infrastructure approach provides some mechanisms to encourage this.

The co-operative infrastructure — especially transparency and Common reporting timelines, metrics and metrics for greenhouse gas emission and national climate actions — may help catalyze virtuous cycles of Increasing ambition. Despite the Paris Agreement relying on individual commitments rather than joint ones, countries remain cautious about moving ahead of their counterparts and competitors. These concerns could be alleviated if there are transparent national commitments that include standard reporting.

However, efforts to mobilize financing need to be made more effective. This was a major issue at COP26. The conference almost got canceled.

The Global North is a group of countries that are serious about their security. They are not meeting their promisesClimate and adaptation finance. They have come up at least US$20 billion short on a US$100 billion per year pledge — an amount itself considered “miniscule” compared to what’s ultimately necessary. Mobilizing finance was a priority for the Global South. Key bargain that made it possible to sign the Paris AgreementIts future success is dependent on this commitment.

Change can be triggered by accountability and inclusion

These mechanisms rely on countries who want to act with passion and equity. That’s the necessary change and it’s what climate activists All over the world, people took to the streets to demand. The Paris Agreement’s logic of accountability, inclusion, and participation offers many opportunities for change.

A woman stands in a forested area looking back, past the camera, over her shoulder. A man stands several metres in front of her, also looking back.
Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, walks with a guide on the Kaazi reforestation site, just outside Kampala, Uganda. She stated that she and her peers didn’t believe the climate change pledges made by leaders and investors at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
(AP Photo/Hajarah Nalwadda)

First, Paris Agreement accountability is largely external — the agreement itself doesn’t have enforcement mechanisms because decisions and actions are taken domestically. This provides citizens and activists with concrete targets — national climate plans.

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We need more legislation at the national level. Canada’s Net Zero Accountability Act. We need citizen pressure to continue ratcheting up national ambition and implementation to ensure that such legislation isn’t Greenwashing.

Read more:
Canada finally has a climate strategy that will allow it to meet its carbon targets by 2030

Second, the Paris Agreement recognizes and rewards the importance of Mobilizing all the corporations, cities, provinces and NGOs in a communityto reach the 1.5 C target. These individuals have done a lot of work. non-stateAnd sub-statePlayers can influence what countries consider appropriate and possible climate action.

So, we have Paris and that’s a good thing, somewhat. It works. It gives you the infrastructure to do more and do better. It’s not magic though. It’s not magic. Catherine AbreuThe executive director of Climate Action Network, Jeremy, stated:

“The final outcomes of COP26 gives Canadians a clear image of where the world is at: united in the desperate hope to limit warming to 1.5 C and avoid the most irreversible impacts of climate change; divided on the scale of effort required to achieve that goal.”

The Paris Agreement will only succeed if people, communities, NGOs, and corporations put forth the necessary effort to make states realize the need for the appropriate scale of effort. Paris is over, but there is hope for 2022. Political movements and political politicsThey are increasing across the globe and fighting for Pandemic recovery plans that emphasize justice, equity, and sustainability; in Everyday actions taken by concerned individualsThese actions create social momentum for positive change.

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