COP21 – Paris Agreement

Posted on December 16, 2015

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cop21

cop21

Those who followed the news on the COP21 meeting will remember that new versions of the treaty document were regularly released until the final version was agreed. The final document is 32 pages long and has 140 paragraphs. The Paris Agreement itself is present as an appendix and has 29 articles. (Link to the Paris Agreement ).

Here are some of the paragraphs:

  • 1. Decides to adopt the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (hereinafter referred to as “the Agreement”) as contained in the annex;
  • 2. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to be the Depositary of the Agreement and to have it open for signature in New York, United States of America, from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017;

According to Article 29 the document is to be published in the following languages: The original of this Agreement, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The nations that have accepted the agreement are called “Parties”. The introduction to the document has a number of clarifications and I have copied some of them below:

Recognizing the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge,

Also recognizing the specific needs and special circumstances of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as provided for in the Convention,

Taking full account of the specific needs and special situations of the least developed countries with regard to funding and transfer of technology,

Recognizing that Parties may be affected not only by climate change, but also by the impacts of the measures taken in response to it,

Emphasizing the intrinsic relationship that climate change actions, responses and impacts have with equitable access to sustainable development and eradication of poverty,

Recognizing the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change.

I note especially that they will take research into consideration and that they state that it is not just climate change that will affect us in future but also the fact that we will need to use less fossil fuels. From my perspective this means that Peak Oil, Peak Gas and Peak Coal will affect us in future.

This is Article 2 that is central in the treaty:

Article 2

This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;

(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

This Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

This paragraph has been discussed in the media and there are many viewpoints about it. What is interesting is what is required for the treaty to come into force and we can find this in Article 21:

This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. 

In total there are 195 parties and it is surprising that all that is needed is for the treaty to come into force is for 55 of these to ratify the treaty but one condition is that these 55 nations must account for at least 55% of the emissions. Therefore, the largest CO2 emitting nations must be included. If one studies the world’s nations’ emissions in 2012 we can see that “the Total CO2 Emissions Excluding Land-Use Change and Forestry (MtCO2)” is 33,843 million tons of which Sweden’s share is 0.12 %. From the media’s reports on Sweden’s emissions one can get the impression that our participation in the treaty is critical but it has more symbolic meaning than real significance. If we regard the EU28 nations as one entity then our joint emissions account for 10.67 % of the world total. Sweden’s portion of those emissions is 1.1%. Sweden and the EU will certainly ratify the treaty but then nations emitting an additional 45 % of world emissions must also joint for it to come into force. At the top of the list of those nations with the largest proportions of the world’s emissions is China. Below are the 16 nations that contribute at least 1 % of world emissions:

MtCO2 (%)
China 2012 9312,533 27,51687
United States 2012 5122,909 15,13728
European Union (28) 2012 3610,514 10,66842
India 2012 2075,181 6,131787
Russian Federation 2012 1721,538 5,086828
Japan 2012 1249,214 3,691202
Korea, Rep. (South) 2012 617,2418 1,823839
Iran 2012 593,8195 1,75463
Canada 2012 543,0242 1,604539
Saudi Arabia 2012 480,2278 1,418987
Brazil 2012 477,7701 1,411725
Mexico 2012 460,4782 1,360631
Indonesia 2012 456,0512 1,34755
Australia 2012 391,2778 1,156156
South Africa 2012 382,8149 1,131149
Sum 27494,59 81,24159
World 2012 33843,05

These nations account for 81 % of emissions and if China, the USA and the EU say yes then we have reached the goal of 55%. If China, Russia and the USA that together account for 57.7 % of emissions say no then the treaty cannot be put into force. It will be interesting to follow the decisions of these nations.

(Swedish)

Vi som följde nyhetsrapporteringen från COP21 kommer ihåg att man delade ut nya versioner av det dokument som till slut godkändes. Slutdokumentet är på 32 sidor och har 140 paragrafer och själva Parisöverenskommelsen finns med som bilaga och den har 29 artiklar. (Länk till Parisöverenskommelsen ).

Här är några av paragraferna:

  • 1. Decides to adopt the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (hereinafter referred to as “the Agreement”) as contained in the annex;
  • 2. Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to be the Depositary of the Agreement and to have it open for signature in New York, United States of America, from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017;

Dokumentet skall enligt artikel 29 finnas på följande språk: The original of this Agreement, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. De länder som godkänt avtalet kallas för “Parties”. Inledningsvis finns det ett antal förtydliganden och jag kopierar några av dem:

Recognizing the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge,

Also recognizing the specific needs and special circumstances of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as provided for in the Convention,

Taking full account of the specific needs and special situations of the least developed countries with regard to funding and transfer of technology,

Recognizing that Parties may be affected not only by climate change, but also by the impacts of the measures taken in response to it,

Emphasizing the intrinsic relationship that climate change actions, responses and impacts have with equitable access to sustainable development and eradication of poverty,

Recognizing the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Speciellt noterar jag att man skall ta hänsyn till forskning och att man noterar att det inte bara är klimatet som kommer att påverka oss utan också det faktum att vi skall använda mindre fossila bränslen i framtiden. Ur mitt perspektiv blir det att Peak Oil, Peak Gas och Peak Coal kommer att påverka oss i framtiden.

Det är artikel 2 som är den centrala i avtalet:

Article 2

  1. This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;

(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

  1. This Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

Denna paragraf har diskuterats I media och det finns många synpunkter om den. Vad som är intressant är vad som krävs för att avtalet skall bli giltigt och det hittar vi i artikel 21:

This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. 

Totalt finns det 195 Parties och det är förvånande arr det bara krävs att 55 av dessa skall godkänna avtalet, men villkoret att dessa 55 skall stå för åtminstone 55% av utsläppen medför att de länder som har de största utsläppen måste vara med. Om man studerar alla världens länders utsläpp 2012 så har vi att ”the Total CO2 Emissions Excluding Land-Use Change and Forestry (MtCO2)” är 33843 miljoner ton, och Sveriges andel är 0.12 procent. Då media rapporterar om det svenska utsläppet kan man få uppfattningen att det är helt avgörande, men det är mer ur ett symbolvärde än verklig betydelse. Om vi betraktar EU28 som ett land då så är våra gemensamma utsläpp 10.67 % och vår andel av det är 1.1%. Sverige och EU kommer säkert att skriva under avtalet, men det krävs ytterligare 45 procents utsläpp. Länder med de största utsläppen toppas av Kina och här är de 16 länder som bidrar med minst 1% (EU betraktas som ett land)

MtCO2 (%)
China 2012 9312,533 27,51687
United States 2012 5122,909 15,13728
European Union (28) 2012 3610,514 10,66842
India 2012 2075,181 6,131787
Russian Federation 2012 1721,538 5,086828
Japan 2012 1249,214 3,691202
Korea, Rep. (South) 2012 617,2418 1,823839
Iran 2012 593,8195 1,75463
Canada 2012 543,0242 1,604539
Saudi Arabia 2012 480,2278 1,418987
Brazil 2012 477,7701 1,411725
Mexico 2012 460,4782 1,360631
Indonesia 2012 456,0512 1,34755
Australia 2012 391,2778 1,156156
South Africa 2012 382,8149 1,131149
Sum 27494,59 81,24159
World 2012 33843,05

Dessa länder bidrar med 81% av utsläppen och om Kina, USA och EU säger ja så når vi målet 55%. Om Kina, Ryssland och USA med tillsammans 47.7% av utsläppen säger nej så går det inte att genomföra avtalet. Det skall bli intressant att följa de nationella besluten.

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