Climate Change Leadership – MOOC

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

Listen to this article


The UNFCCC and the outcomes of the Paris Agreement

In this video Doreen Stabinsky, the first visiting professor in climate change leadership at Uppsala University gives an insight into the outcomes of the Paris Agreement.

But first off, she explains what the UNFCCC is:

The UNFCCC, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is a legally binding international treaty. It is a framework treaty, so in order to have its legal obligations taken forward, it needs detailed implementing agreements, such as the Paris Agreement, to be negotiated under the Framework.

The UNFCCC is composed of 194 parties which are all nation states. They meet on a yearly basis and the meetings are called Conferences of the Parties (COP) of which the meeting in Paris was the 21st (COP21).

What made the meeting in Paris so special is that it lead to the adoption of legal agreement between all parties:

In that implementation body decisions are taken by consensus, so there is no voting system within the UNFCCC. This obviously limits the ambition the group can have.

She explains that there is a power imbalance and that the influence big players (like China, USA; EU) have in comparison to smaller players often dictates which elements of the agreement are legally binding and which ones are not.

She then goes into the outcomes of the Agreement:

  • temperature goal of 2 degrees above Industrial levels and ambition to keep temperature below 1.5 degrees
  • transparency framework for support and action
  • global stocktake to assess how well countries are doing

But she also mentions key things that are left undone:

  • concrete commitments to reduce emissions to be able to reach 2 degrees of warming
  • finance for adaptation and loss and damages

When asked about the role of the UNFCCC as a climate change leader she says that it is a really important space for all countries of the world to come together to combat climate change. She says:

Climate Change Leadership comes from the member states and the leadership form member states comes from the people in those member states…what happens at the national level determines what can happen at the international level.


See also

Read more about The Paris Agreement and the parties (countries) that have ratified the agreement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change web page. And in the video below the COP28 international climate meeting 2023 is discussed.


© Doreen Stabinsky, CEMUS and Uppsala University