Paris Climate Agreement Is Now International Law -- Why Should It Matter?

Nov 07, 2016 04:39 AM EST

The landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement officially entered into force on Friday and countries are starting to come up with plans to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Paris Agreement, one of the most significant international agreements that seek to combat climate change, was agreed in December 2015 by nearly 200 nations. But it was only this year that it became official.

The global accord took effect a month after countries representing 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions committed to take part in the deal. The historic first meeting was held today in Marrakech, Morocco to discuss the implementation details.

"This is a moment to celebrate. It is also a moment to look ahead with sober assessment and renewed will over the task ahead," Patricia Espinosa, United Nations (UN) climate lead, said in a report by Reuters. "In a short time - and certainly in the next 15 years - we need to see unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and unequaled efforts to build societies that can resist rising climate impacts."

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The Paris Agreement aims to prevent the devastating effects of climate change by limiting the increase in average world temperatures to between 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). The pact provides a valuable framework for countries to address climate change and implementation details, which will be determined at subsequent climate meetings known as COPs. As the agreement takes effect, negotiators are hashing out implementation details to be resolved in the coming meetings, which include how different countries could meet their commitments and how rich nations could help poorer countries adapt to global warming, reports.

On the same day, the UN Environment Program analyzed the countries' current pledges for greenhouse gas emission reductions and officials said they were not sufficient. According to the report, 2030 emissions are predicted to give a temperature rise of 2.9 to 3.4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

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