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The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement, agreed in December 2015, unites 195 nations to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries. The central aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

ACT 2015’s Approach

The Agreement for Climate Transformation 2015 (ACT 2015) was a consortium of the world’s top climate experts from developing and developed countries that worked together to catalyze discussion and build momentum for the Paris Agreement. Prior to adoption of the Paris Agreement , ACT 2015 conducted in-depth research and global engagement with key stakeholders to explore core elements of the Agreement, identify options to overcome political challenges, and highlight opportunities to address them in an ambitious and effective post-2020 regime.

To inform ACT 2015’s analysis, the consortium presented options for the Agreement, including three potential propositions for the overall structure of the agreement, in a series of convenings and workshops around the world. The workshops were held in a wide range of developed countries, major emerging economies, least developed countries, and small island developing states. In ACT 2015’s workshops, the consortium engaged stakeholders and decision makers and enabled leaders from  government, business and civil society to understand the implications of various options for the Agreement and links to national priorities.

Based on ACT 2015’s in-depth research and wide range of inputs gained through the workshops, the consortium combined its findings into a proposal that was launched in December 2014 at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. This proposal, “Elements and Ideas for the 2015 Paris Agreement”, illustrates how the international agreement can play an effective role in shifting the world toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy in a fair and timely manner.

Based on that working paper, as well as further analysis and consultations, the ACT 2015 consortium ultimately developed a proposed set of suggestions for the legal text for the Paris Agreement entitled, Getting Specific on the 2015 Climate Change Agreement: Suggestions for the Legal Text with an Explanatory Memorandum.” This paper provided key inputs and textual explanation to policymakers, negotiators and wider stakeholders during the drafting stage of the Paris Agreement. An overwhelming majority of the Paris Agreement reflects the legal text put forward by ACT 2015.