While the agreement has been welcomed by many, including French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, criticism has also emerged. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and climate change expert, expressed anger that most of the agreement is made up of “promises” or goals, not firm commitments.  He called the Paris talks a fraud with “nothing, only promises” and believed that only a generalized tax on CO2 emissions, which is not part of the Paris agreement, would force CO2 emissions down fast enough to avoid the worst effects of global warming.  Although the enhanced transparency framework is universal, the framework, coupled with the global inventory that takes place every five years, aims to provide “integrated flexibility” to distinguish the capabilities of developed and developing countries. In this context, the Paris Agreement contains provisions to improve the capacity-building framework.  The agreement recognizes the different circumstances of some countries and notes, in particular, that the technical review of experts for each country takes into account the specific capacity of that country to report.  The agreement also develops a capacity-building initiative for transparency to help developing countries put in place the necessary institutions and procedures to comply with the transparency framework.  The Paris Agreement has a bottom-up structure, unlike most international environmental treaties that are “top down,” characterized by internationally defined standards and objectives and must be implemented by states.  Unlike its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, which sets legal commitment targets, the Paris Agreement, which focuses on consensual training, allows for voluntary and national objectives.  Specific climate targets are therefore politically promoted and not legally binding. Only the processes governing reporting and revision of these objectives are imposed by international law. This structure is particularly noteworthy for the United States – in the absence of legal mitigation or funding objectives, the agreement is seen as an “executive agreement, not a treaty.” Since the 1992 UNFCCC treaty was approved by the Senate, this new agreement does not require further legislation from Congress for it to enter into force.  How each country is on track to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement can be constantly monitored online (via the Climate Action Tracker and the climate clock).
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