• 2015 | The Paris Agreement - COP 21 - Paris


    This second historic agreement succeeds the Kyoto Protocol and requires limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

    It also states that political agreements will be based on scientific knowledge in order to achieve this objective. Because scientific knowledge improves over time, each country draws up five-yearly energy and climate plans that achieve their "nationally determined contribution" (or "NDC", in % emission reduction). That way, targets can be adjusted.

    The agreement is legally binding under international law, but not enforceable.

  • 2015 | The Paris Agreement - COP 21 - Paris

    2014 & 2021

    At the European level, the agreement has been translated into

    1. the "2030 European Climate & Energy Framework" (2014) and then into;
    2. the "European Green Deal" (2021) with the first European Climate Law.

    Both the 2030 Framework and the Green Deal include objectives for Belgium (see 2021).

  • 2015 | The Paris Agreement - COP 21 - Paris


    With the Paris Agreement, countries established an "Enhanced Transparency Framework" to better track and understand the progress of climate change action.

    The Paris Agreement states that all "Parties" must prepare 5-year National Climate Plans. In these plans, countries will have to outline how they will meet their targets and also report on their annual greenhouse gas emissions, via greenhouse gas inventories.

    Also, the Paris Agreement details how these greenhouse gas inventories should be prepared.

  • 2015 | The Paris Agreement - COP 21 - Paris

    good to know

    Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement does not set country-specific targets for keeping the temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C. It does, however, explicitly refer to the need for scientific knowledge and the subsequent update of (inter)national emission targets in line with that knowledge.

    The Belgian "Affaire Climat/Klimaatzaak" case against the regions and the federal government starts.

    Note that the URGENDA, the climate case in the Netherlands, had as outcome that the national objective of the Netherlands were not sufficient. The judge ruled that the Netherlands must follow the Paris Agreement, which explicitly states that the national reductions will be derived from scientific knowledge. The Netherlands is therefore obliged to base its reduction targets on science and not on political negotiation. Consequently, the Netherlands is also the first country to set out an ambitious climate policy.