What is the Paris Accord?

What is the Paris Accord?

The Paris Accord or otherwise known as the Paris Agreement is a global unified response to climate change which involves all nations (exceptions of Syria and Nicaragua) coming together in Paris to discuss a dedicated action plan to fight the environmental disruption caused by climate change. The central aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat that climate change is opposing by attempting to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The agreement also includes talks to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. One of the main causes of climate change is caused by deforestation and destruction of land for unsustainable agricultural use.

If we can halt the process of deforestation it would contribute to at least 30% of the reductions needed to reach targets in the Paris Agreement. If the world continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere on current examples we are facing global temperatures of more than 4C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

The World Health Organisation also predicts that 250,000 people will die every year due to the health effects brought about by a polluted and warming planet, as malaria and dengue fever spread to new regions and food production is affected. The Paris Agreement couldn’t have come sooner and the quicker the world acts now the brighter the future of our planet will look.

How does a country join the Paris Accord?

There are three steps to ‘joining’ the agreement.

  1. First of all, a county must adopt the agreement. The Pairs Agreement was adopted first on the 12th of December 2015 in Paris, France by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework of Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Adoption is the formal act that establishes the form and content of an agreement. When adopting to the agreement, a country is agreeing to the text and contents of the agreement.
  2. The countries must then sign the Paris Agreement. The agreement was open for signatures at the UN in New York on the 22nd of April 2016 until the 21st of April 2017. Signing the agreement indicates that a country is committed to refrain from acts that contradict the purpose of the agreement.
  3. Countries then formally join the Paris Agreement. This is done by depositing instruments of ‘reification, acceptance or approval’ with the Secretary-General to the UN. There is no time limit as to when countries should submit these instruments.

What does the Paris Accord involve?

By signing the Paris Agreement, Governments have agreed to the following;

  • Come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets 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

Why did the U.S.A leave the agreement?

President Trump has recently decided that he is pulling the US out of the Paris agreement for reasons of ‘sovereignty’. This decision to take the U.S.A out of the agreement is in many professional’s opinions shortsighted and reduces the ability of the government to provide a global leadership on climate change. Trump’s decision has led to a lot of controversy throughout the country, with many of America’s largest corporations such as Apple, Walmart and Coca-Cola advocating for America to continue its participation in the Paris Agreement while more than 1200 universities, investors, businesses, mayors and governors from around the country have sent a letter to the UN to underline their commitment to continue with the agreement showing levels of support between 69-71 percent. Leaders worldwide cannot fathom why Trump would want to leave the agreement as many experts say that the Paris Agreement will be beneficial to the American Economy creating many jobs in the renewable energy sector.

What can my organisation do to help comply with the agreement?

Companies that have implemented an Energy Management System (EnMS) such as ISO 50001 have made savings of up to 10% on energy savings while also making their organisation more energy aware. ISO 5001 can contribute not only to your corporate social responsibility but also to your economy, creating a greener and safer planet for future generations. ISO 50001 is an internationally recognised standard which states that your organisation is energy aware and has a proactive energy management system in place reducing the total consumption of energy used. To find out more about the implementation of ISO 50001 speak to one of our advisors to get a quote and make your organisation energy aware.

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Robert Lyons
Robert Lyons


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