COP21 – Paris

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) took place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France.

COP21, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aimed to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

In overview, the deal at COP21 unites all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change for the first time in history. Coming to a consensus among nearly 200 countries on the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is regarded by many observers as an achievement in itself and is being hailed as “historic”. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 set emission cutting targets for a handful of developed countries, but the US pulled out and others failed to comply. However, scientists point out that the Paris accord must be stepped up if it is to have any chance of curbing dangerous climate change.

Pledges thus far could see global temperatures rise by as much as 2.7C, but the agreement lays out a roadmap for speeding up progress.

Key elements of agreement reached at COP21:

  • To keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C
  • To limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
  • To review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.

Click here to read the full agreement from COP21

Click on firm names to see what LSA Executive member firms Norton Rose Fulbright, DLA Piper and Herbert Smith Freehills are respectively saying about COP21

Click here to sign up to the Paris Pledge for Action

Click here to see a copy of the letter sent by AusLSA to Australian PM

Click here to access the summary of the recent Castle Debate “The Last tango in Paris” hosted at DLA Piper’s offices which previewed the key issues to be discussed and likely outcomes from COP21