Road from Paris: Global climate deal expected to take effect soon

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?

Reporting resources

Dig deeper on the Paris Agreement and adaptation story using additional resources in the Reporter’s Guide to Climate Adaptation database.

Know of other U.N.-related resources we should include in our database?

Posted by A. Adam Glenn on Oct. 3, 2016