DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and may be paid a commission for any sales from links, buttons, or images clicked on this website.

Paris Climate Accord: What It Is and Why It’s so Important

The Paris Climate Accord may be of great significance at this juncture. Scientists say that the earth’s rising temperatures are producing longer and hotter heat waves and intense hurricanes. Heavier rainfall and more frequent droughts are also the results of climate change. The impacts of global warming are rippling across the globe.

Emissions released from industry and agriculture also add to the natural greenhouse effect. WHO reports that between 2030- 2050 climate change may cause 250,000 additional deaths per year.

Developing countries — and those with weak health infrastructure — will find it difficult to cope. So all nations must introduce climate-friendly policies. Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean power will result in healthier communities. The Paris Climate Accord aims to achieve this.

What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

The Paris Climate Accord aims to build up the global response to the threat of climate change. The climate deal is, according to many, “historic, significant and inadequate.” The aim is to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — above pre-industrial levels. All nations must pursue limiting the increase in temperature even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The accord aims to strengthen countries so they can deal with the impacts of climate change. It plans to “foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development.” And to do so, “in a way that does not threaten food production.”

Achieving these goals rests on proper financial flows, new technologies, and an increased capacity-building framework. Every Paris Accord participant country must plan and report its efforts to reduce global warming. It focuses on a general understanding and permits voluntary and nationally established goals. No agenda has been described forcing a country to set specific targets within a set date.

But every goal should go beyond previously set targets. The penalty for non-compliance is the so-called, “name and shame” or “name and encourage,” system. Civil society organizations, the public, and businesses must work according to government policies.

Pledge for deeper emission cuts in the future

The emission cuts pledged by each country so far will reduce global warming to 2.7°C (36.86 Fahrenheit) within this century. The central part of this deal is to guarantee deeper emission cuts in the future. There will also be a comprehensive review every five years determining progress. All parties must put their best efforts through, “Nationally Determined Contributions.” The countries must report regularly on their emissions and how they put them into practice.

Who stands to benefit from this Paris Climate Accord?

The developed nations as stated by the UN framework in 1992 will help developing countries with the costs of going green. The developed nations must also finance the costs of coping with the activities of going green.

According to the target set in 2009 in Copenhagen, developed nations are morally bound to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2022. This money is for helping the developing countries. The Paris Agreement says they plan to continue the, “existing collective mobilization goal through 2025.” The participants will set a new goal by 2025.

Money was a big part of the proceedings of the Paris Climate Accord. That was because those nations that are defined as developing called for more funds. They also argued that developed nations had not met their $100 billion pledge. Of course, the developed countries also called for a fix to the “crude 1992 definition” of “developing.” At that time, 6 of the ten of wealthiest countries in the world were on the list of “developing countries.” Many poorer nations also requested increased aid to become a legally binding requirement. The United States of America (US) made it clear that it will never sign such a deal.

As the argument continued, the final agreement resulted in a much weaker commitment which stated that developed nations are, “encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.”

How would US withdrawal impact the global effects of climate change?

The US, under then-President Barack Obama, helped spearhead the Paris Climate Accord. But President Donald Trump announced on 1st June 2022 that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The New York Times reported that a US withdrawal could, “seriously weaken global efforts to avoid drastic climate change.”

The US is the second-largest greenhouse gas producer worldwide after China. The Obama administration pledged that it would cut emissions to twenty-six to twenty-eight percent by 2025. But because of the US withdrawal from the agreement, this percentage may be hard to achieve. An analysis by the Rhodium Group also states that the emissions would fall just fifteen to nineteen percent below 2005 levels.

How can US economy benefit from reduced greenhouse gas emissions?

Researchers of the study Seeing is Believing examined five areas that accounted for 55 percent of US gas emissions. Because the Paris Climate Accord aims to reduce emissions, it will benefit the US greatly.

  1. Electricity generation
  2. Passenger vehicles
  3. Electricity consumption
  4. Natural gas
  5. Hydrofluorocarbons

The researchers found significant economic benefits if the emissions get reduced in the above five sectors. Here is a look at some of the financial benefits the US could achieve by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The cost of solar panels has decreased 80 percent since 2008.  So clean power production is now financially appealing. Natural gas plants cost less than new coal generation.

Consumers will save $450 billion on electricity bills through 2030 from Federal Appliance Standards implanted in 2009.

$670 billion-$2.3 trillion would be the savings from reduced fuel costs that would result from 2010-2050. Provided the nations minimize fuel emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels.

The natural gas industry could earn a revenue of $1.5 billion if all producers adopt best practices.

Purchase of HFC coolers at a large scale can cut 40 percent of the country’s HFC emissions by 2030.

Health benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emission

A research study says that limiting the emission of greenhouse gases could prevent up to 3 million premature deaths annually. Also, lowered emission rates could lead to a significant reduction in air pollutants and will save a lot of lives.

Note, the American Heart Association warns that air pollution can increase stress levels. It can also lead to adverse metabolic changes in otherwise healthy persons. So, breathing in the pure air will enhance the quality of life of individuals worldwide, and the Paris Agreement hopes to achieve this.