Achievements and Challenges of the Paris Agreement

22 January 2016

The “Paris Agreement” is the first universal climate deal in human history.

Many expectations were created regarding the results of COP 21, and the active participation of the international community was effective in bringing about the achievements of the summit.

At the same time, there are new challenges for the survival of humanity and all ecosystems.

Four general aspects of the Agreement clearly represent four global international environmental principles.

Future Generations

The main purpose of the negotiations was to avoid the increase of 2 degrees of average temperature by the end of the twenty-first century. The individual goals of reduction of greenhouse gases made by each country represent the principle of future generations; the agreement is an ambitious agreement with durability.

Polluter Pays

A maximum level of greenhouse gas emissions that each country should produce unilaterally was agreed. Thus, the Paris Agreement is the beginning of a movement towards “gradual decarbonization” of the economy and industry that is based on the polluter pays principle.

Sustainable Development

A fund of USD 100 billion was created to strengthen the reduction of greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change. These resources will prioritize cooperation and technology initiatives where the principle of sustainable development will be mandatory in the twenty-first century.


The precautionary principle is present through the transparency of the mechanism for reviewing the commitments of countries. The first assessment of greenhouse gases reduction targets will be in 2018; the first review of all objectives will be in 2023 and will take place every five years after that.

Therefore, the Agreement of Paris created a new global climate paradigm. The countries’ implementation strategies for the next years will generate challenges that will produce opportunities for advocacy.

In this regard, the Anglican Communion could enhance the people’s resilience and put pressure on governments and companies to fulfil the agreements, in order to increase the quality of life of human beings and all species that cohabit together.


Download “Achievements and Challenges of the Paris Agreement” as a PDF document.

Prof. Dr David M. Morales is a professor in the Departments of Social Sciences, Humanities and International Relations of the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) in Brazil. He is a member of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) and of the Anglican Communion Environment Network.


Photo: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at a climate fast at the Paris COP21 meeting. Credit: Anglican Church of Southern Africa