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What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

The UN Paris Climate Agreement was signed by leaders of nearly 200 countries with the goal of addressing climate change, sustainable development and food production, and poverty (Article 2). It plans to do so by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, specifically targeting anthropogenic pollutants.

The agreement affirms participation toward a common goal, with clearly set expectations. The ultimate goals of emission reduction and procedural commitments have been agreed upon by each participating country. Ultimately, each country’s contribution is decided by that same country, according to its ability. This means that contributions take into account that developing countries may be more severely affected by the consequences of climate change, and may have less financial and technological support to be directed toward the specified efforts; while wealthier, more developed countries will be able to contribute more at a faster rate, and potentially provide financial support to countries in need.

Another goal of the agreement is to require that the signing countries transparently share their work against climate change, so each involved country is asked to submit its “intended nationally determined contributions” to the established secretariat to be kept as public record. This also includes “sharing information, good practices, experiences and lessons learned, including, as appropriate, as these relate to science, planning, policies and implementation in relation to adaptation actions” (UN Paris Climate Agreement, Article 7:7a). Article 7 places a strong emphasis on sharing technology and knowledge through the Cancun Adaptation Framework, in order to guide countries through swift and innovative climate-friendly development.

Click here to read the Paris Climate Agreement’s original text.

Are you interested in studying sustainability and the environment during your semester abroad?
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Also, take a look at our Food & Sustainability Studies Program curriculum.

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