International Climate Change Agreements

The Pact does not set limit values for greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and does not contain enforcement mechanisms, but rather establishes a framework for international negotiations on future agreements or protocols to set binding emission targets. Participating countries meet annually at a Conference of the Parties (COP) to assess their progress and continue discussions on how best to tackle climate change. In fact, research clearly shows that the cost of climate inaction far outweighs the cost of reducing carbon pollution. A recent study suggests that if the U.S. fails to meet its Paris climate goals, it could cost the economy up to $6 trillion in the coming decades. A global failure to comply with the DND currently set out in the agreement could reduce global GDP by more than 25% by the end of the century. Meanwhile, another study estimates that achieving – or even exceeding – that the Paris targets could be very beneficial on a global scale by investing in infrastructure in clean energy and energy efficiency, to the amount of about $19 trillion. Paris Convention, 2015. The most important global climate agreement to date, the Paris Agreement, requires all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions. Governments set targets known as national contributions, with the aim of preventing the global average temperature from exceeding the pre-industrial level by 2°C (3.6°F) and strive to keep it below 1.5°C (2.7°F).

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