The Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016 and, to date, 187 parties have ratified it (UFCCC). The Agreement’s goal is to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (°C) above] pre-industrial levels. The Agreement established what has been dubbed an ‘ambition mechanism,’ where every five years nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are reassessed and enhanced — with the first round of refinements expected in 2020. A number of studies, most notably the United Nations Environment Programme report, conclude that current NDCs will not achieve the objectives of the Agreement (UNEP 2018). While technical obstacles to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement remain, political barriers further convolute the discussion. Clearly more needs to be done, and further political accommodations will be required globally to significantly enhance and subsequently implement more ambitious contributions that might achieve the promise of the Paris Agreement. However, before progress can be made on an international level, the main polluting countries must focus on internal, domestic consensus to develop robust efforts to reduce emissions. Uncertainty remains about whether there is, or will ever be, sufficient political will to meet the 2°C target.
March 19, 2020