As of August 2021, 197 countries have joined the Paris Agreement, signaling their commitment to addressing climate change. The Paris Agreement was first established in 2015 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Paris Agreement is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. This means that while all countries are expected to contribute to the global effort to combat climate change, developed countries are expected to take the lead in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and providing financial and technological support to developing countries to help them transition to a low-carbon economy.
So, who are the parties to the Paris Agreement? The parties are the countries that have ratified or acceded to the agreement, meaning that they have formally expressed their consent to be bound by its terms. As of August 2021, there are 197 parties to the Paris Agreement, including 196 United Nations member states and the European Union.
The United States, under the Obama administration, played a key role in negotiating and signing the Paris Agreement in 2015. However, in 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement, a process that was completed in November 2020. However, in January 2021, the newly inaugurated President Joe Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement. The United States officially rejoined the agreement on February 19, 2021.
Other countries that have not ratified the agreement include Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen. Some countries, such as Nicaragua and Syria, initially declined to join the Paris Agreement, citing concerns about its effectiveness and fairness. However, both countries later decided to sign the agreement, leaving the United States as the only country to have formally withdrawn from the agreement.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement is a global effort to address the threat of climate change, with 197 countries pledging to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy. While the United States briefly withdrew from the agreement under the Trump administration, it has since rejoined under the Biden administration, signaling a renewed commitment to addressing this urgent global challenge.