Under the Paris Agreement, each country must define, plan and report regularly on its contribution to the fight against global warming.  There is no mechanism for a country to set an emission target for a specified date, but any target should go beyond the previous targets. The United States formally withdrew from the agreement the day after the 2020 presidential election, although President-elect Joe Biden said America would return to the agreement after his inauguration.  The Paris Agreement provides for a number of binding procedural obligations. The parties are committed to preparing, communicating and maintaining successive NDCs; “domestic mitigation measures” to achieve their NDCs; report regularly on their emissions and on progress in implementing their NDCs. The agreement also provides that the successive NDCs of each party “will represent a progression” beyond their previous one and “reflect its highest possible ambitions.” Obtaining their NDC by a party is not a legally binding obligation. Q: What are the main aspects of the new agreement? The EU and its member states are among the nearly 190 parties to the Paris Agreement. The EU formally ratified the agreement on 5 October 2016, allowing it to enter into force on 4 November 2016. In order for the agreement to enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions had to file their ratification instruments. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which set legally binding emission reduction targets (as well as penalties for non-compliance) only for industrialized countries, the Paris Agreement requires all countries – rich, poor, developed and developing – to take their share and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, the Paris Agreement provides for greater flexibility: commitments that countries should make are not included, countries can voluntarily set their emissions targets and countries will not be penalized if they do not meet their proposed targets. But what the Paris agreement requires is to monitor, report and reassess, over time, the objectives of individual and collective countries, in order to bring the world closer to the broader objectives of the agreement. And the agreement stipulates that countries must announce their next round of targets every five years, contrary to the Kyoto Protocol, which was aimed at this target but which contained no specific requirements to achieve this goal.
Indeed, research shows that the cost of climate activity far outweighs the cost of reducing carbon pollution. A recent study suggests that if the United States does not meet its climate targets in Paris, it could cost the economy up to $6 trillion in the coming decades. A lack of compliance with the NPNs currently foreseen in the agreement could reduce global GDP by more than 25% by the end of the century. Meanwhile, another study estimates that achieving – or even exceeding – the Paris targets by investing in infrastructure in clean energy and energy efficiency could have great benefits globally – about $19 trillion. Second, in our domestic political context, after Trump`s decision, it is important that the provision governing the exit from the Paris Agreement be binding. The operational provisions contained in Article 28 of the agreement are as follows: the Paris Agreement helps us avoid an ambitious one that would make the target well below 2 degrees unlikely.