1. Was the Paris Conference on climate change successful?

The Paris Conference was indeed successful. Since the 1992 Climate Change Convention, the adoption of the Paris Agreement commits all countries ‘to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change’[1].


The Paris Agreement is a political agreement. It includes important elements never before agreed under the Climate Change Convention: the collective action by all countries to reduce GHG emissions and to adapt to the changing climate. It also includes the commitment by developed countries to jointly mobilize US$100 billion a year by 2020 to assist developing countries reduce GHG emissions and adapt to the changing climate.


Its predecessor, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and its 2012 amendment, established GHG emission reduction targets for industrialized countries[2]. In contrast, the Paris Agreement establishes a ‘pledge and review’ system, based on pledges submitted by all countries –the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) —to be reviewed every five years. These pledges, however, are not legally binding.





[1] Paris Agreement, Article 2 (2015)

[2] The 1997 Kyoto Protocol commits developed countries to reduce GHG emissions by at least five per cent below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. A second commitment period was agreed by the Protocol’s 2012 Doha Amendment, with emission reduction targets of at least 18 per cent below 1990 levels in the period 2013-2020.