The Paris Agreement: COP21 Produces an Ambitious Action Plan to Save Our Planet


Truly “Good For All News” emerged on December 12, when 195 nations agreed on a global action plan to decrease human impact on climate change. The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to take effective action collectively in order to prevent the planet from rising more than 1.5 degrees celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

To reach this goal, the agreement outlines a commitment from involved countries to present and implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) every five years to an appointed committee, where their impact will be assessed. All plans will be adjusted or re-written accordingly to keep up with the Paris Agreement as well as encourage more ambitious plans for the future as the five year mark hits.

The Paris Agreement works to create a global network committed to curbing carbon emissions through sustainable action. There is great hope for the potential of this agreement, as 188 countries have already submitted plans. One major plan, which was revealed at COP21 earlier in the week, is the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR 100).

The AFR 100 initiative aims to restore 100 million hectares of land in Africa by 2030 by planting trees and taking steps to protect existing forests by halting deforestation and desertification. If successful, this plan will greatly contribute to the goals set out by the Paris Agreement, as deforestation is a major component in carbon emission, and in turn, rising global temperatures.

The impact deforestation has on our world was beautifully depicted in Stop The Burning, a short film presented at COP21 that includes a call to action from Dr. Jane Goodall and 30 other global leaders.

The Paris Agreement will be presented for signage by the UN on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016. While the existence of The Paris Agreement is a historic and significant beacon of hope for our planet, it will only become effective when at least 55 countries making up 55% of our global emissions ratify the agreement. As European Energy and Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said, “Today we celebrate…tomorrow we have to act.”

The Paris Agreement is not only essential to human life, but also to animals and plants, especially those facing the threat of extinction. President Obama supported this notion when he said the Paris Agreement is “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got.”

The Jane Goodall Institute applauds world leaders for constructing the Paris Agreement and continues to work towards it’s goal to save the planet. While leaders came together to put together this agreement at COP21, a Tapestry of Hope was announced by Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle, outlining efforts taken by Roots & Shoots groups and other civilians of our global community. While we await commitment and signatures from world leaders, we have the potential as individuals to emulate the Paris Agreement and Tapestry Of Hope and partake in local and personal efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.

Click here for more information about The Paris Agreement.


About Author

Hayley is was an intern for the Jane Goodall Institute in the fall of 2015. She graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in Media and Communication and Theatre. She is interned for the communications department at JGI because she hopes to help Jane's mission to "speak out for those [chimpanzees]...who cannot speak for themselves."