Paris Agreement provides launch pad for national climate action

Paris Agreement provides launch pad for national climate action
12 December 2015

The historic Paris Agreement paves the way for countries to start the urgent tasks needed to deliver their national climate change plans – the true impact of the agreement will be felt only in the months and years to come, but there is no doubt COP21 provides a firm foundation for short, medium and long-term focused actions by individual countries

Some actions can deliver benefits immediately, others will deliver the promises for 2030, and yet others must set the strategy for 2050 and beyond. In the short term, countries can take early actions in line with their national priorities, and thereby demonstrate immediate returns from their investment so far in the Paris process.  At the same time they can now prepare comprehensive plans to achieve the 2030 goals set in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). And in light of the ambitious long term targets also agreed in Paris, countries need to consider options for low emission development strategies, to deliver a peaking in emissions followed by carbon neutrality in the second half of the century. 

“In the run up to the negotiations, I said that the Paris Agreement should be judged on how effectively it supported the achievement of countries’ national climate plans.” commented Ricardo Energy & Environment’s international director, Chris Dodwell.  “I’m delighted that the Agreement delivers so much to catalyse work by governments across each of the implementation pillars: governance, mitigation, adaptation, finance and transparency. COP21 has provided a launch pad for more ambitious actions to tackle climate change by national, state and city governments throughout the world.”

The Agreement provides clear support for each of the five key pillars of implementation identified in the Ricardo Energy & Environment paper ‘Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement: Turning Action Plans into Achievement.’

  • Political will and effective governance: COP21 not only demonstrates that the international community is committed to a low carbon, climate resilient future.  It sets up a governance regime to oversee the effectiveness of national actions, with 5 yearly milestones for submitting steadily more ambitious national plans and undertaking global stock-takes. 
  • Long term mitigation strategies: The Paris Agreement includes ambitious long-term temperature goals, with commitments to peak emissions as soon as possible and to achieve carbon neutrality this century. Together, these will act as a Pole star to guide consideration of national long-term low emissions development. 
  • Integrated adaptation planning: The issue of adapting to climate change is now on an equal footing with mitigation.  The global goal to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability, means that adaptation will be included in future Nationally Determined Contributions and in the 5 yearly global stocktake.
  • Climate finance frameworks: Finance lies at the heart of the new agreement, with its own objective, and commitments to provide scaled up financial resources and capacity building to support country-driven strategies.  Its adoption is being heralded by private investors as a game-changing moment.  Their role and that of carbon pricing will be vital in funding national projects and programmes. 
  • Measurement, reporting and verification systems: An enhanced transparency framework will include reporting of emissions via greenhouse gas inventories, and tracking of progress on national action.  Developing countries will be supported in this by a new Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency. 

“When I spoke to many countries at COP21, their focus was already on what they needed to do when they get home, continues Chris Dodwell. “They want to identify funding sources to start their actions now, and to put in place the governance systems and roadmaps to demonstrate the funds will be well used.

“The good news from COP21 is that international bodies, development banks, and foundations have put money on the table, and on the table now. The links between supply and demand can be made quickly. We look forward to working with many more governments following COP21 to help them turn their INDC plans into action – and into short, medium, and long-term achievement.”

Ricardo Energy & Environment’s climate change team has supported more than 15 countries, with a combined population of more than 500 million people, by helping them to develop their INDCs. Chris Dodwell the the director responsible for this team and also led the Ricardo Energy & Environment presence at COP21. Before joining Ricardo, he worked at the heart of climate policy for the UK Government for 10 years, including as Head of Delegation to the international climate negotiations and Head of International Climate Policy at the Department for Climate Change and Energy (DECC). 

To find out how Ricardo Energy & Environment and its teams are providing support to help countries to develop, implement and monitor their INDC policies, and our White Paper on INDC Implementation, visit:


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To request a download of the paper ‘Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement: Turning Action Plans into Achievement’, visit: