THE PARIS AGREEMENT- An initiative to control the climatic change

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This article was written by Kamakshi Gupta, a student of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies.


This article considers how far the climate change regime is an exemplar of international environmental law as well as public international law. Normally seen climatic changes are seen as the part of international environmental law. It aims at protecting the world’s climate, and thus supporting sustainable development. In the same way as international environmental law it is at the same time a separate field of international law, and an issue and a perspective in other areas of general international law and international environmental law. This article will include and discuss on the main international agreements: The FCCC and the Kyoto protocol, including the history and background, the issue involved, and the current scenario and its legal perspective.

The climatic change problem is basically because of the “Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Effect” – has been known for a long time and it is in itself not a very controversial fact. The uncontroversial facts that are very important to understand are

  • The increase in CO2 concentration from 270 to 340 ppm in the atmosphere
  • The considerable annual variations and a rise in average temperature
  • The reason for this invariable increase in concentration being the activities of man itself.

The article concludes with a view on legal validity and climate change and seeks to convey the challenges, demands, preferences and values of those who contribute to the discussion, to manifest the advantages of diversity.


States enter into international agreements all the time, and these agreements vary widely along several dimensions. Some are formal treaties, while others fall short of that classification, being labeled instead ‘soft law’ some include dispute resolution procedures while others do not and some provide for sophisticated monitoring mechanisms that are absent from other agreements. When states draft their agreements they often make choices that whether they are going to carry on with soft law or the decision of eliminating and removing dispute resolutions.

After all the states have entered into agreements they exchange certain promises about their subsequent conduct. Now these agreements will only hold value and bind the parties till the time all the parties carry on and fulfill the promises made. The value of the agreement increases and makes it all the more the more efficient if they can bind parties to large extent. if suppose certain laws or agreement are weak enough to not bind parties there will be need of modifications.

Whenever one party to the agreement tries to violate the law there are specified sanctions for the same. The sanction could be loss of reputation of that party in eyes of the society at large and well as other consenting parties. These sanctions are not only loss for the individual states of parties but also to the whole state. Though being a sanction for one it does mean any off-setting gain for the same to the other.

Whenever the parties enter into an agreement, the first essential or liability that needs to be realized in their future loss and the fact that their credibility tends to be enhanced which results to net loss in situation of violation. Now a way to increase credibility of commitments is to avoid the loss.[1]


The Paris agreement was formed with an objective to bring in all nations to initiate and act for a good cause. All these nations signing to this agreement will now have to set and achieve their ambition to adapt and make sincere efforts to minimize the effects of climatic change. To achieve such ambitions there is a strict need of actually gaining support from many developing nations.

The main aim of this agreement is to bring down the temperature rise below 2 Celsius and chase a limit of not increasing more than 1.5 degree Celsius. Though to fulfill such aim not only support from nations is required but also financial support and bulk of resources. The goals of this agreement cannot be achieved without enhanced support of these nations to assist developing countries.[2]

The Paris Agreement’s main aim is to strengthen the worldwide response to the threat of climate change by keeping the temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to attain and chase to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To fulfill these ambitions, appropriate financial resources, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place.[3]


The Contribution that each country is willing to make in order to achieve a worldwide goal is to be done by each country individually in the form of an NDC. Article 3 of the same agreement requires them to report progressions and implementations from time to time.

By 2018 the parties that have signed to the paris agreement will have to make a report of all the the stock of the collective efforts in relation to the developments and upliftnments as per the goals set and stated in the Paris agreement and in furtherance of this will have to prepare their respective NDCs as well. [4]

Now the stock report that needs to be submitted should be done in every 5 years to check and assess the cumulative move and progress in order to achieve the objective and to inform all other parties respectively.

The takeaways for India

There are a lot of mitigation policies that are suggested by India in order to contribute to the climatic change problem targeting the reducing the GHG emissions. The first National Action Plan on Climatic Change was released by our honorable founder Prime Minister in June 2008. This action plan targeted to identify eight core “national mission” running through 2017. Since May 2014 the PM, Mr. Narendra Modi has included large scale clean energy production in the current Five Year plan (i.e. 2014- 2017).It is a notable thing that he changed the name of the Environment Ministry to Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Wind energy was an initiative that was taken up by the Climate change ministry and it took its roots in the coastal zone and focuses on health and waste- to- energy. The followings are the much recent initiatives of the Government are as follows[5]

  • Mitigation initiatives, creation of new missions, revisiting national missions & creating new missions for climate change.
  • The renewable energy target is to achieve is 175 GW by 2020 and the National Solar missions targets to grow from 20 to 100 GW
  • To make the Kochi Airport the world’s first solar power operated airport.
  • To install solar power toll plazas
  • The eminent measures taken is the Delhi and Mumbai Metro
  • To create an efficient and effective transmission and distribution network by making a national smart Grid Mission and Green Energy Corridors.
  • The successful clean India Movement also known as the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • There is a target to make at least 100 cities as smart cities.
  • The target to build a three lined and 1,40,000Kms long Green Highway
  • Launch FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid electric vehicles) India movement.
  • The first ever fuel efficient passenger vehicles standards was finalized and passed.

Strategies that has to be Adaptive

India has put forth huge changes which is striking a balance between the climatic change and renewable energy goals. These actions are aggressive in nature and the implementation process and the implementation part is quite challenging but on the other hand the INDC will make India a cleaner country. The reason behind taking so drastic steps is that the India whats to achive it and also it is working hard towards achieving it.

The INDC has noted the enhanced investment in these activities which will require some additional support through domestic and international ends, while India is currently spending about 3% of it’s total GDP in order to adapt to the climatic changes. The country estimates it will need $206 billion for the period 2015-2030, with additional investments needed for disaster management.[6]

One of the most important elements was transparency that was discussed and decided in the ‘Lima Climate Talk’ the country is yet to be achieved as of now, as per the detailed lay out of the INDC. These include a lack of clarity on emissions intensity in the base year (2005) and target year (2030), as well as the scope and coverage of the intensity target and the methodologies for measuring it.[7]This information is crucial for manufacturing progress towards India’s target and understanding how it contributes to the global goals of limiting temperature rise to 2 degree Celsius. 


The hypothesis that the author assumed was, although there is huge amount of political acceptance of Paris Agreement but there is hardly has any legal content to it. Which stands failed in the initial parts of the research article.

 Also the author wanted to understand how far the India’s INDC is feasible in the practical scenario. The second hypothesis also stands disproved by the end of the research paper as India’s contribution represent the utmost ambitious actions in the current stae of development. Recent decisions of the Government represent a quantum jump in our aspirations & demonstrate unparalleled vision. It has incorporated the developmental challenges and priorities as per the aim to achieve the target. The developmental plans laid down to strike a balance and along with that it will aim to lay emphasis on the economic and environmental development. India is expecting ambitious, equitable and effective results to the global agreement in Paris in the opinion of the author.

[1]Mogelgaard, Kathleen (December 24, 2015). “When Adaptation is Not Enough”. World Resources Institute.







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