Nations concluded the Paris climate agreement in 2015. Credit: Chesnot/Getty It shows that U.S. government scientists, regardless of the White House`s position, strongly support the international consensus that climate change is real and is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama was able to formally enshrine the United States in the agreement through executive measures because he did not impose new legal obligations on the country. The United States already has a number of instruments on the books, under laws already passed by Congress to reduce carbon pollution. The country officially joined the agreement in September 2016, after submitting its request for participation. The Paris Agreement was only able to enter into force after the formal accession of at least 55 nations representing at least 55% of global emissions. This happened on October 5, 2016 and the agreement came into force 30 days later, on November 4, 2016. Although the United States and Turkey are not parties to the agreement, as they have not indicated their intention to withdraw from the 1992 UNFCCC, they will continue to be required, as an “Annex 1” country under the UNFCCC, to end national communications and establish an annual inventory of greenhouse gases.  As Maldives Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim writes: “It would be a tragedy if we were here for 2020 to find out that we waited too long to do what was necessary.” Here`s a look at what the Paris agreement does, how it works and why it is so crucial to our future. At the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference, the Durban Platform (and the ad hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) were created to negotiate a legal instrument to mitigate climate change from 2020.
The resulting agreement is expected to be adopted in 2015.  Indeed, research shows that the cost of climate activity far outweighs the cost of reducing carbon pollution. A recent study suggests that if the United States does not meet its climate targets in Paris, it could cost the economy up to $6 trillion in the coming decades. A lack of compliance with the NPNs currently foreseen 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 – the Paris targets by investing in infrastructure in clean energy and energy efficiency could have great benefits globally – about $19 trillion. On August 4, 2017, the Trump administration officially announced to the United Nations that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is legally entitled to it.  The formal declaration of resignation could not be submitted until after the agreement for the United States came into force on November 4, 2019 for a three-year date.   On November 4, 2019, the U.S.
government filed the withdrawal notice with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, custodian of the agreement, and formally withdrew from the Paris Agreement a year later, when the withdrawal came into effect.  After the November 2020 elections, President-elect Joe Biden promised to reinstate the United States in the Paris Agreement for his first day in office and renew the U.S. commitment to climate change mitigation.   Although the enhanced transparency framework is universal, the framework, coupled with the global inventory that takes place every five years, aims to provide “integrated flexibility” to distinguish the capabilities of developed and developing countries.