Paris Climate Agreement

Парижское соглашение

Paris climate agreement determines the development of climate regulation in Moldova (details in the article via the link).

The International Climate Regulation Background

In the distant year of 1896, the Swedish scientist Svante August Arrhenius made a revolutionary hypothesis that human consumption of fossil fuels could lead to a significant increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, consequently, global warming. However, his ideas went unnoticed at the time.

In the 1930s, the average temperature in the United States and the North Atlantic region began to rise, attracting the attention of scientists. Guy Stewart Callendar, drawing on Arrhenius’ work, first presented a study to the world on the influence of fossil fuels on the climate. Although his work sparked interest, Callendar’s lack of a doctoral degree led to some skepticism. Nevertheless, the scientist continued his research and became an important figure in studying climate change.

In the 1950s, the scientific community recognized that climate change was happening, but the exact cause remained unclear. At the same time, it became evident that Earth’s ozone layer was being depleted due to certain chemicals, which had serious consequences for human health.

In 1985, the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was adopted, ratified by 197 countries. Its goals included reducing the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, cooperation in research, and developing alternative technologies. This convention served as the basis for the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which established specific deadlines and commitments to reduce ozone-depleting substances.

On June 23, 1988, NASA’s leading scientist James Hansen presented the results of computer models confirming the role of human activity in climate change at hearings in the US Senate. These events marked the starting point for global discussion, ultimately leading to the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to objectively assess the facts of climate change, its causes, and potential consequences.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

In June 1992, the historic Earth Summit (UNCED) took place, gathering representatives from 179 countries. One of the main topics of discussion was climate change, and it was then that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was proposed for signing and ratification.

The purpose of this document was to recognize climate change as a global problem and to promote cooperation among countries in climate regulation to stabilize the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that does not pose a threat to the climate system. Initially, the responsibility for emissions reduction was placed on developed countries, considering their historical contribution and resources, while developing countries could participate voluntarily.

The UNFCCC was ratified only in 1994, and it is worth noting that the commitments made by countries were voluntary. Nevertheless, this became the first step towards international cooperation on climate regulation.

The Kyoto Protocol

In December 1997, the first amendment to the UNFCCC, known as the Kyoto Protocol, was signed. This historic document was ratified by 192 countries in February 2005. The main goal of the protocol was to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, CH4, N2O, as well as fluorinated gases (SF6, HFCs, PFCs), by developed countries by 5 percent during the period from 2008 to 2012 compared to the 1990 level.

In 2012, the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, under which countries participating in the protocol committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 18 percent from the 1990 level over an eight-year period from 2013 to 2020. This amendment entered into force on December 31, 2020, but the number of participating countries decreased significantly compared to the first period.

It is important to note that the Kyoto Protocol also introduced a number of market mechanisms to assist countries in achieving emissions reduction targets:

  • International Emissions Trading: Developed countries set emissions reduction targets and received emission allowances. Unused allowances could be transferred to countries that exceeded their targets.
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): This mechanism allowed developed countries to carry out emissions reduction projects in developing countries and use the certified emission reductions obtained to achieve their commitments.
  • Joint Implementation: This mechanism allowed developed countries to receive emission reduction units from emissions reduction projects in other developed countries and use them to achieve their goals.

In 2001, the Adaptation Fund was created to finance adaptation projects and programs in developing countries. In the first period, funding was provided from a portion of the revenues from Clean Development Mechanism activities, and in the second period, it was also funded from the proceeds of International Emissions Trading and Joint Implementation.

As an alternative to the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, voluntary standards such as the Gold Standard and The Verified Carbon Standard gained widespread popularity, targeting voluntary commitments by companies. These standards provided greater flexibility to parties in implementing climate projects and using carbon units.

Paris Agreement

In 2015, the international community took another significant step in addressing the issue of climate change by signing the Paris Agreement. This historic document was ratified by 190 countries a year after its signing. The agreement sets a goal for countries to keep the global average temperature rise below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and to strive to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The goals of the Paris Agreement also include increasing society’s ability to adapt to climate change and promoting development with minimal greenhouse gas emissions, without threatening food production. Additionally, the agreement calls for aligning financial flows with a low-carbon development trajectory and climate resilience.

An important feature of the Paris Agreement is that all countries, both developed and developing, are obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, each country sets its own targets based on its level of development and technological capabilities.

Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reduction commitments in the Paris Agreement are voluntary. However, countries are required to track their greenhouse gas emissions and report on their progress.

At the COP 26 conference in Glasgow, two types of market mechanisms were proposed to assist countries in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement:

  • Article 6.2: This mechanism involves trading emissions reductions internationally based on agreements between countries. Moldova and Japan have concluded and are implementing a corresponding agreement.
  • Article 6.4: This mechanism envisages the establishment of a global carbon market under the auspices of the UN for centralized reduction of global emissions. To implement Article 6.4, agreement on several key aspects will be required, including methodologies, mechanisms for greenhouse gas removal, monitoring and assessing the risk of gas return to the atmosphere, sustainable development tools, and dispute resolution procedures.

Moldova’s Participation in Implementing the Paris Agreement

Moldova actively participates in international efforts to combat climate change. It is a party to key documents such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (signed on June 12, 1992, Ratified by Government Resolution No. 404 of June 9, 1995), the Kyoto Protocol (ratified by Law No. 29 of February 13, 2003), and the Paris Agreement (signed on September 21, 2016, ratified by Law № 78 on May 4, 2017).

Climate projects have been implemented in the Republic of Moldova within the framework of the Clean Development Mechanism.

On September 25, 2015 Moldova submitted the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) or NDC1, which included an unconditional economy-wide target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64-67 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030, and to make all efforts to reduce its emissions by 67 percent.

The reduction commitment expressed above could be increased up to 78 per cent below 1990
level conditional to, a global agreement addressing important topics including low-cost financial
resources, technology transfer, and technical cooperation, accessible to all at a scale
commensurate to the challenge of global climate change.

On March 4, 2020, Moldova updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC2), setting a new unconditional economy-wide target for the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

The estimated reduction under the same conditions in NDC2 can be increased to 88 percent, instead of 78 percent as defined in NDC1.

Moldova is also participating in the implementation of climate projects under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement through the Joint Crediting Mechanism.