What’s wrong with Paris?

What’s wrong with the Paris Agreement?

Even if the main goal agreed in Paris is to limit global warming to ‘well below 2°C’ (rather than the ambition of 1.5 °C), we in the GlosCAN Steering Group agree with most observers that, as things stand, the chances of meeting that goal are slim. [Update, October 2018: UN IPCC report – 1.5 °C of warming has many more risks than previously thought.]

The main shortcomings of the Paris Agreement seem to us to be as follows:

  • The Paris Agreement depends on individual countries delivering on their own voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their territories.
  • The Agreement does not cover emissions from international transport (shipping and aviation).
  • Even if all countries deliver on their commitments, the most likely outcome would be a temperature rise well above 2 °C by 2100, and continuing to rise.
  • The Agreement has no enforcement mechanism but relies on a periodic ‘global stock-take’ process, with ‘naming and shaming’ of countries failing to deliver their commitments.
  • The Agreement implies a radical shift away from fossil fuel use but contains no mechanism to limit the production of fossil fuels.
    The Agreement is not due to take effect until 2020.



What is needed internationally?