The 197 “negotiators” committed to developing long-term strategies to develop low-greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first time that a universal agreement has been reached in the fight against climate change. In response to the climate challenge, the agreement recognizes that states have common but differentiated responsibilities, i.e. according to their national capabilities and specificities. States parties are subject to certain legally binding provisions, such as the requirement for developed countries to provide financial assistance to developing countries to enable them to implement the Agreement. To contribute to the goals of the agreement, countries presented comprehensive national climate change plans (national fixed contributions, NDC). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points to the way forward for further measures. The agreement recognizes the role of non-partisan stakeholders in the fight against climate change, including cities, other sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and others. The agreement commits all countries to reduce their emissions and cooperate to adapt to the effects of climate change and calls on countries to strengthen their commitments over time. The agreement provides developed countries with a means to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts, while establishing a framework for monitoring and reporting transparently on developing countries` climate goals. The Paris Agreement is the first legally binding universal global agreement on climate change adopted at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015. It is an agreement with an “action agenda” to implement accelerators to ensure more ambitious progress beyond binding commitments. The EU and its member states are among the nearly 190 parties to the Paris Agreement.

The EU formally ratified the agreement on 5 October 2016, allowing it to enter into force on 4 November 2016. In order for the agreement to enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions had to file their ratification instruments. The contributions were published when they were published on the website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). On 22 November 2015, a week before the conference, 170 countries, representing more than 90% of emissions, had already published their national contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each contribution was to include quantifiable elements, the reference year, the implementation schedule and methods for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement officially entered into force on 4 November 2016, a few days before COP22, and was ratified by 169 countries (including the European Union 28), which account for 87.75% of emissions.