During the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris on 12 December 2015, 195 nations, including the Philippines, reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.
The Paris Agreement, adopted through Decision 1/CP.21, brought all the nations for the first time into a common cause – to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5ºC. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework are put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
In the past five years, the Paris Agreement spurred many countries to become greener, with its science-based targets providing a tangible way to gauge how quickly it is needed to reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.
Citing the provisional report on the state of the global climate 2020 of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), more needs to be done in terms of undertaking ambitious efforts to combat climate change and ramping up climate action, to demonstrate the ambition in implementing the Paris Agreement.
Countries around the world must keep the climate ambition alive and strong by presenting more ambitious and high-quality climate plans, as well as COVID recovery plans, new finance commitments and measures in pursuit of the 1.5ºC long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.
The agreement also required the countries outline its own actions to mitigate the impact of climate change and reduce carbon emission by submitting its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by the end of this year. While the Philippines is currently in the process of finalizing its NDC, it is worth noting that the country has made ambitious announcements towards a stronger program in favor of climate justice – such as the house resolution calling for the declaration of a national climate emergency in the Philippines, issuance of a moratorium on new coal power projects, and sustainable finance framework.
The celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement must serve as a major opportunity to put the climate back at the heart of the global agenda, ensuring that future generations will survive and thrive in a warmer world by sustaining the fight for 1.5 warming threshold and calling for climate justice.