There is solid global evidence of climate change, which is already having grave consequences in many parts of the world. An increase in heat-related events has been observed all over the world. Large regions of the globe are suffering more intense and frequent extreme precipitation events and drought. Furthermore, rising sea levels and the melting of ice and snow masses have been observed.
The consequences of climate change will increase in severity as the Earth continues to warm, and it has been demonstrated unequivocally that humans are the main drivers of climate change due to combustion of fossil fuels. This is why measures are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally in order to limit warming and the consequences associated with it.
In 1997, the international community agreed on binding reduction targets for industrialised nations in the form of the Kyoto Protocol. This expired in 2020 and was replaced by the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 by the international community at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). It is a legally binding instrument under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Climate Convention, UNFCCC).
The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2°C, and preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. This aims to prevent the most serious consequences of climate change from becoming a reality. In order to achieve these targets, there must be a rapid and substantial world-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and “net zero” must be achieved towards the middle of the century (1.5°C target) or during the course of the second half of the century (2°C target). “Net zero” emissions means that, ultimately, no more greenhouse gases must enter the atmosphere than are absorbed by natural sinks or technological carbon-capture methods.