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.