Climate ChangeSusty Events

The Paris Agreement – Explained

This post is for the not-so-sustainable news inclined, it is for the people who hear and read about things like COP21, Paris Agreement and Earth Day and have no idea what these three have in common or how to even use each  of them in a sentence successfully.

Today, April 22nd is Earth Day, a day set aside to celebrate the planet Earth globally

But more specifically, today is the signing of the historic Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Earth Day

So, what is the Paris Agreement?

In 2015, as you may already know, the largest Climate Change event – COP21 organised by the UNFCC (The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – an  international environmental agreement on climate change) was held from the 30th of November – 11th of December in Paris. This conference was the 21st one to be held hence the name COP (Conference of Parties) 21.

Conference of Parties because countires from all over the word came together to sit,talk, eat (and even dance) about how to combat climate change – which is how to reduce the heat we currently face as a result of Global Warming.


At the end of the conference, there was this document that was submitted, this document contained the agreement met by all countires, it is called the The Paris Agreement.

cop21 - shoki dancing

And what did the Paris Agreement Say?

In the agreement, all 196 countries in attendance pledged to work to limit the temperature rise overall below 2 degrees Celsius, but are aiming to achieve a temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Why two degrees?

So you might be thinking – “They went to Paris to agree on only two degrees??!

Well yes, and actually it is a big deal;while we may not perceive the impact of a 2 degree celsius increase from our heads because of what we may be comparing it with – our air conditioners or the weather in general, its a neglible number of degrees to feel when you’re looking outside your door or window. But the front of your door is a tiny corner compared to the entire earth, actually, the Earth is about 510 billion square meter so the heat that would be needed to increase the entire temperature of the earth by 2 degrees would be a whole lot.

So that is why these nice folks decided to work around that number because its not about you and your door step, it is about the whole planet.

two deg celsius

So is everybody signing the agreement today?

Unfortunately no. Even Nigeria is not signing it- just yet. There is a one year window period for all countries to get in line so we know and believe strongly that we would get our books right and sign as soon as possible. Because, it’s not just about signing (that would be a very funny government trip if you asked me), if a country signs then they also have to present a proposal plan for actions for the agreement to be effective. The process is usually long and rigorous in some cases and you already know how long it would typically take Nigeria to sort these kind of things out. (Please do not quote me)

But like I told some colleagues on social media yesterday, the Federal Minister of Environment – Amina Mohammed is proactive, once we plan smartly, we would run back to New York to sign the agreement.

President Buhari addressing the UN Climate Change Conference COP 21, in Paris, France on 30th Nov 2015
President Buhari addressing the UN Climate Change Conference COP 21, in Paris, France on 30th Nov 2015

You can also find the list of countries that have agreed to sign here.

So what do you think of the Paris Agreement? Do you get it now ? And if you still do not care about Climate Change, may I let you know that it can affect your sex life, but that is not why we are here.