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Paris outcomes: Carbon Market Watch Analysis of COP 21


From 30 November to 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC met in Paris to negotiate a new global climate treaty.

The Paris Agreement was a remarkable outcome, especially after the failures of Copenhagen. Almost all involved, including Carbon Market Watch, seemed surprised at how positive the outcome was. However, expectations had been carefully managed in the preceding years, so that aspirations of environmentalists to have a treaty that reflected the scientific reality by dividing up the remaining global carbon budget, had been downplayed into unreality.

The level of detail on each of the provisions was also a positive outcome, although there will inevitably be much to flesh out in the coming years, so that the Agreement can be operationalized. This is clearly true for the new mechanisms – both market and non-market – that have been established.

In Paris, Parties expressed high ambitions for climate action, action that is adequate to the threat we face from our own carbon pollution. The challenge going forward will be to implement what they have said they will do, and to enhance the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), as the current collective effort, in both mitigation and provision of climate finance, is far from adequate to achieve the new goal “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels”.

In a nutshell, key outcomes of the Paris agreement include: 

  • Increased global ambition, to limit warming to 1.5ºC and peaking global emissions as soon as possible
  • Ratcheting provisions to allow Parties to increase ambition over time, on 5 year cycles
  • Provisions for linking carbon markets, the establishment of a new net mitigation mechanism and a framework for non-market approaches to sustainable development
  • An enhanced transparency framework, that will also need to be developed with the market mechanisms in mind
  • Continued requirements for developed countries to take the lead on providing and mobilizing financial resources, with other Parties encouraged to contribute voluntarily
  • Encouragement to conserve and sustainably manage forests
  • Strengthened provisions for national low greenhouse gas development strategies with a horizon of 2050
  • Inclusion of human rights for the first time in the preamble
  • Implicit inclusion of international aviation and shipping in the global carbon budgets and long term goals

Read full analysis here

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