How Many Countries Signed The Paris Agreement?

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Protests against climate change in Paris. Editorial credit: Alexandre Rotenberg /

The Paris Agreement, which is also known as Accord de Paris in French, is an agreement formed within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) and attempts to rally all countries into a common cause of combating climate change and making efforts to adapt to climate change. The agreement also attempts to enhance the support of the less developed countries to do the same. The aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the worldwide response to the threats of change in climate and encourage all countries to work towards keeping the rise in global temperature within this century to below 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the pre-industrial level in the 19th century. It also aims to limit further increase in global temperature to 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit, because this level would significantly reduce the effects and risks associated with climate change. As of 2019, 186 member countries of UNFCCC had become a party to the agreement, and 195 had ratified the agreement.

Where Did The Agreement Happen?

The conference that adopted the Paris Agreement was held in Le Bourget, France, and it was held between November 30th, 2015 and December 11th, 2015. The UNFCCC holds talks on a rotational basis throughout the UN member countries. The 2015 UN conference on climate change also known as the Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) was held in France partly because France was a model country among the developed nations in the world because it had decarbonized its fossil fuel energy and production of electricity while maintaining high standards of living. France has been able to generate more than 90% of its electricity without the use of carbon sources, and this includes wind, hydroelectric, and nuclear. The participating parties included 195 nations and the European Union.

Countries With The Highest Carbon Emissions

As of 2015, the countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions included China, which was topping the list accounting for 29.5% of the global carbon emitted to the atmosphere. Second, in place was the United States of America, accounting for 14.3% of the total carbon emissions globally. Coming in third place is the European Union which accounts for 9.6% of the total carbon dioxide emitted. India, Russia, and Japan each emitted carbon dioxide, which accounted for 6.8%, 4.9%, and 3.5% respectively of the global carbon dioxide emitted. All other countries emitted greenhouse gases, which accounted for 31.4%.

Non-binding Commitments

The Paris Agreement will not be binding to its member countries until 55 countries that produce more than 55% of the total greenhouse gases in the world have ratified the agreement. It is unlikely that some countries like the US would commit itself to do so. Any country that ratifies the agreement is expected to set its own targets on reducing its carbon emission, which is known as Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the amount is mainly voluntary. There is no mechanism to enforce the measures or force the countries to meet their set targets. The system which has been proposed is the “name and shame.”

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