In the news: The historic Paris Agreement is poised for enactment now that key milestones are nearly met for the number of countries taking part -- including newly joined India -- and for the amount of carbon emissions those countries represent.
Back story: When the United Nations agreed to the new climate change treaty in December 2015, the pact included a unique threshold: (1) at least 55 countries party to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change join the agreement and (2) they collectively represent 55 percent of global emissions. Nearing those numbers in recent months, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged ratification during a high-profile event at the U.N. on Sept. 21.
Adaptation angle: A key component of the Paris climate change agreement is its focus on adapting to global warming’s effects, while enhancing adaptation support to help developing countries. That means offering financing through a new Green Climate Fund, as well as providing enhanced capacity building and new technology.
Questions to ask
- What nations does the U.N. see as most vulnerable to climate risk, and urgently needing adaptation activities? How will the Paris Agreement help them?
- How well is the Paris Agreement doing in mobilizing technological support for developing countries?
- How will the Green Climate Fund raise its target of $100 billion-per-year from developed countries, with half for adaptation activities, when it’s so far below that now?
- What role will private investment play in adaptation activities related to the Green Climate Fund?
- Are there good examples of adaptation plans being developed on a local, national or regional level?
- How successfully are adaptation plans going from the blueprint stage to actual implementation?
- How will the agreement address losses already incurred by vulnerable nations from climate impacts?
- How will adaptation goals in the Paris Agreement mesh with those of the U.N.’s new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030?
- Read the final draft of the Paris Agreement (PDF), officially adopted by the U.N. on Dec. 21, 2015, and check the summit’s final report.
- See what countries have joined the agreement, and answer questions about the treaty through this FAQ.
- Get more background about adaptation via the parent treaty, the N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, via the U.N. Climate Change Newsroom or its Big Picture overview site. And learn more about the U.N.'s direct work around adaptation (plus, more here).
- Follow the money through the Green Climate Fund, the U.N.-backed source to finance investment in climate-resilient development and adaptation. Here’s more background via the UNFCC.
- Gather adaptation-related documents and data from the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.’s climate change scientific body.
- Check out the IPCC’s most recent Climate Change Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, which has perspectives on future pathways for adaptation, and its data distribution center. Also see its 2014 report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
- Track the climate and disaster resilience initiatives of various nations through the U.N. Development Program’s database, as well as through the U.N.’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, which focuses primarily on building resilience against climate change and includes resources such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a Climate Risk Early Warning Systems initiative launched during the Paris Talks, and a report on “The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters.”
- See the U.N.’s climate-related protocol known as the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.
- For business-related angles, see the following:
- Caring for Climate initiative, which mobilizes business leaders to implement climate change adaptation policies.
- Resilient Pathways report, which looks at climate impacts on the information and communication tech sector.
- A report from U.N. agencies on climate resilience and adaptation in agriculture sectors
- Learn about adaptation and resilience efforts around the globe through the U.N.’s National Adaptation Plans database, which also includes links to technical guidelines and publications.
- For regional perspectives, see the U.N. Environmental Program’s Asia-Pacific Adaptation Project and its “Africa’s Adaptation Gap” report.
- Learn how recently adopted U.N. Sustainable Development Goals directly address climate adaptation.
Know of other U.N.-related resources we should include in our database?
Posted by A. Adam Glenn on Oct. 3, 2016
Overview: The United Nations Environment Programme represents the environment within the United Nations system.
How to Use This Resource: Africa’s Adaptation Gap Report is a stark analysis of where Africa stands in relation to its adaptation goals. The continent serves as a cautionary indicator of what may happen should the emissions gap remain.