PARIS ACCORD

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Five years later

The 12th of December 2020 marks five years of the Paris Agreement.

In Summary

• Collectively, leaders around the world must stand up and act with courage and conviction if we are to resolve the climate crisis.

• In 2016 Kenya ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted an ambitious NDC with a commitment to reduce emissions by 30 per cent against a business as usual scenario by 2030. 

Young climate activists shout on stage at the High-Level event on Climate Emergency during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain December 11, 2019.
Young climate activists shout on stage at the High-Level event on Climate Emergency during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain December 11, 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Susana Vera

On December 12, 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP21 – resulted in the first universal climate agreement in Paris-le Bourget under the French Presidency.

On that day, 195 countries plus the European Union succeeded, after 13 days of hard negotiations, in putting collective interests ahead of national interests and adopting a historic agreement; the Paris Accord.

It was a decisive step in raising awareness on the climate emergency and it provided a platform to establish some key objectives: keeping global temperatures below 2°C; reviewing countries' contribution to reducing emissions every five years; supporting developing nations by providing adequate financing to adapt to climate change and switching to renewable energy.

The 12th of December 2020 marks five years of the Paris Agreement.

This provides a unique opportunity to take stock of the progress we have made thus far as well as the progress we’re yet to achieve.

We have indeed made real progress in mobilizing financing and rebuilding the Green Climate Fund.

More countries are committing and raising their national ambitions - popularly known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) - to reduce emissions by 2030 in order to align the commitments with a trajectory compatible with the 2C and efforts towards 1.5C goal.

For most, the concept of carbon neutrality in the second half of the Century is within reach or is a very primary objective at a critical moment, when the world is currently reeling from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are being pushed towards rebuilding more sustainable economies and it is of paramount importance to collectively raise our ambition and reignite the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

Looking forward, in November 2021, the COP26 International Climate Summit will be hosted in the UK, in partnership with Italy.

This will be preceded by the Pre-COP high-level Ministerial event back-to-back with the “Youth4Climate 2021”, which will involve more than 400 young people from 197 countries in this vital debate for our planet.

The UK and Italy commit to using their CoP26 presidency to work with Kenya to drive climate action.

The CoP Presidency will bring nations, private sector, communities and young people together, to increase awareness and to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and drive forward the race to net-zero to deliver for people and the planet.

In advance of these events, France and Italy, as part of the European Union, and the UK announced last week their own updated NDC, committing themselves to a further significant reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to baseline.

This is part of a bigger, legal commitment made by our countries to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

We hope that this level of ambition will spur other nations to make bold commitments, but also appreciate that developing countries will require support to act on climate change.

The UK has committed to double the amount it spends on International Climate Finance over the next 5 years to the tune of Sh1.7 trillion to help countries such as Kenya adapt to the effects of climate change, and develop low-carbon economies.

In 2016 Kenya ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted an ambitious NDC with a commitment to reduce emissions by 30 per cent against a business as usual scenario by 2030.

Kenya’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions represent less than one per cent of total global emissions; yet its economy is heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water, energy, tourism, wildlife, and health.

Kenya took proactive measures to reduce emissions, vulnerability and enhance resilience.

It developed the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) 2015-2030, which has identified short, medium and long-term strategic actions for all sectors.

The Climate Change Act, 2016 underscores mainstreaming of climate change in both public and private sectors with emphasis to enhancing resilience in the country.

The National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), which is a five-year plan was developed as a vehicle to achieve the NAP, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as implementing the Climate Change Act, 2016.

Kenya has finalized updating her NDC and intends to submit it by before December 31, 2030.

The updated NDC increases mitigation commitment from 30 per cent in 2016 to 32 per cent by 2030.

The NDC also commits to enhance resilience in all sectors of the economy.

The implementation cost of the updated NDC mitigation and adaptation is estimated to cost USD 62 billion between 2020-2030.

Forests will play a significant role if we are to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.

Kenya has moved its target of achieving a 10 per cent tree cover from 2030 to 2022, a 2.8 per cent increase from 2018.

On matters of climate finance, from a developing country’s perspective, climate finance should be ‘new and additional, predictable, adequate and easily accessible.

New and additional implies over and above Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Tackling climate change is a global challenge and commitments, no matter how significant, from just one or two countries, or one or two regions will not be enough.

Collectively, leaders around the world must stand up and act with courage and conviction if we are to resolve the climate crisis.

Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ambassador Aline Kuster-Menager (France), High Commissioner Jane Marriot (UK), Ambassador Alberto Pieri (Italy)