The Paris Climate Agreement
The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework. Further information on key aspects of the Agreement can be found here.
The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.
The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day) at a ceremony in New York. As of May 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 147 of which have ratified it. After several European Union states ratified the agreement in October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement that produce enough of the world’s greenhouse gases for the agreement to enter into force. The agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.
The aim of the convention is described in Article 2, “enhancing the implementation” of the UNFCCC through: 
“(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.”
Countries furthermore aim to reach “global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible”. The agreement has been described as an incentive for and driver of fossil fuel divestment. 
The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement. 
In recognition of this, 179 countries and the EU spent two weeks in Paris last December hammering out the final wording of an agreement to keep global temperature increase well below 2C and if possible, below 1.5C. The reduction in temperature can only be achieved through a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. Known as COP21, (The 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), it was one of the largest gatherings of world leaders ever seen.
Everyone who attended COP21 made emission-cutting pledges. These are known as “intended nationally determined contributions”, or INDCs for short. The US, for example, pledged to cut U.S. climate pollution by 26-28% from 2005 levels. China’s target is to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest, lower the carbon intensity of GDP by 60% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to increase the share of non-fossil energy carriers of the total primary energy supply to around 20%.
The EU plans to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 on 1990 levels.
The Paris climate accord, known as the “Paris Agreement” by the United Nations, is an international agreement reached in 2015 aimed at reducing carbon emissions, slowing rising global temperatures and helping countries deal with the effects of climate change.
Under the terms of the agreement, signatories committed to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
The deal requires countries to set their own targets for reducing emissions by 2020. The Obama administration committed the U.S. to reducing carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
The agreement also established a $100 billion fund to help vulnerable countries deal with the effects of climate change.
The final text of the agreement was adopted at the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP21, in December 2015. The U.S., which took the lead in negotiating the deal, signed onto the agreement in April 2016, along with China, the European Union and 171 other nations. China and the U.S. account for nearly 40 percent of global carbon emissions.
The agreement took effect in November of that year, after nations accounting for 55 percent of global emissions ratified the treaty. As of May 2017, 147 parties have ratified the agreement, out of 195 who signed onto the accord. The Obama administration committed the U.S. to the agreement without seeking ratification in the Senate, meaning Mr. Trump can withdraw support unilaterally. Should he do so, the U.S. would join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not participating in the agreement.