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Will the Paris Agreement accelerate the pace of change?

ABSTRACT

Since adoption of the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997, the international climate regime has been caught in stasis. Due to a lack of direction and clarity at the policy level and deep political divides, the evolution of the international climate regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had failed to catch up with the changes occurring in the real economy. The momentum created ahead of COP21 in 2015 and resulting Paris Agreement has changed this, creating a new paradigm of international climate policy, politics and cooperation that is, if implemented, capable of generating the momentum needed to accelerate the pace of change and drive transformation. This new paradigm that emerged from the Paris Agreement, demonstrates the role of the United Nations in giving voice to smaller countries to create effective positive powerful coalitions and the need to invite the outside world into the process through greater participation of cities, business, investors and other non-state actors. We outline the main policy and political shifts that the Paris Agreement represents, and explain why this new paradigm of international climate policy, politics and cooperation is key to accelerating the pace of change and keeping the world well below 2°C, and optimally 1.5°C.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.