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The Paris Agreement

At the COP21 in Paris in December 2015 the 196 member states agreed on the UN climate convention (UNFCCC), a legally binding agreement on climate change - the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an important step on the way to the global transition to a lower level of greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement means: 

  • The countries are obliged to contribute
    The Paris Agreement obliges the countries to present national reduction contributions - meaning contributions to the total reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. On behalf of Denmark and the other member states, the EU has presented one total reduction contribution. The contribution is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent by 2030 as compared to 1990 levels to be distributed among the countries by means of negotiations within the EU. To Denmark and to the EU it was crucial that the Paris Agreement ensures action by countries. They succeeded. As per 1 March 2016, 188 countries have presented their national climate plans. The climate plans include reductions that cover more than 95 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. For comparison, the Kyoto protocol comprises only 38 countries and less than 15 percent of the global emissions.

  • Long-term goals of reduction of emissions
    Agreement has been reached about a long-term goal of reduction of the global rise in temperature to less than two degrees - and to strive to curb the rise of temperature to 1.5 degrees.
    Furthermore, the Paris Agreement includes a goal to the effect that the global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter. In this way, the hope is to obtain balance between emissions and impacts of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.

  • Common rules as to stocktaking of the countries' climate efforts
    According to the Paris Agreement, a translucent regulatory system should be established as to how to establish the climate actions in the countries. This to make sure that everybody can see whether countries keep their promises. The regulatory system will make it possible to evaluate the total progress compared to the long-term goals of the agreement.

  • Ambition mechanism to ensure a continuously increasing effort
    The agreement contains a so-called ambition mechanism. The ambition mechanism shall contribute to a continuous increase of the global effort of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. So, this is a crucial part of the Paris Agreement. In the actual situation, the total contribution to reduction by the countries is not enough to keep the global temperature increase below two degrees. Consequently, continuously increasing efforts play a pivotal role. In accordance with the ambition mechanism the parties shall come back every five years to take a stock as to the fulfilment of the long-term goal of the agreement. In the light of such evaluation, the countries shall confirm or update their actual reduction contribution - or commit themselves to new reduction contributions.

  • Climate financing for developing countries
    In the Paris Agreement the countries confirm their promise to mobilise 100 billion USD a year from public and private sources as from 2020 for the climate efforts of the developing countries.
    A new goal for financing for developing countries shall be set no later than by 2025 for the subsequent period. The Paris Agreement makes it possible to more countries to contribute to the financing.

  • Entry into force and the further negotiation process
    The Paris Agreement becomes effective when at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the agreement in their respective parliaments. The Danish ratification is made as a parliamentary resolution and thereafter as a joint EU resolution. The future work will be to finish the negotiation about the constituent elements of the agreement and the implementation of same. The coming years, negotiations will be about political issues concerning the ambition mechanism and climate financing for developing countries as well as technical codes of practice as to among other things market mechanisms and reporting rules.


Christina Graaskov Ravn

Internationalt Kontor