The president`s promise to renegotiate the international climate agreement has always been a smokescreen, the oil industry has a red phone at the Home Office, and will Trump bring food trucks to Old Faithful? The agreement stated that it would only enter into force (and therefore fully effective) if 55 countries that produce at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions (according to a list drawn up in 2015)  ratify, accept, approve or adhere to the agreement.   On April 1, 2016, the United States and China, which together account for nearly 40% of global emissions, issued a joint statement confirming that the two countries would sign the Paris climate agreement.  175 contracting parties (174 states and the European Union) signed the agreement on the first day of its signing.   On the same day, more than 20 countries announced plans to join the accession as soon as possible in 2016. The ratification by the European Union has achieved a sufficient number of contracting parties to enter into force on 4 November 2016. One of the most important architectural concepts of Cancun`s 2oC target, which has been transferred to the long-term temperature target of Paris, is to “keep warming” below a certain level. The term “Hold below” is significantly stronger than a return to a certain degree of warming up to a certain time (up to 2100 (of a higher implied level). During the negotiations on this warming target, formulations such as the return to 2oC by 2100 were proposed and rejected. In reviewing a series of emission pathways that meet a long-term temperature target, a requirement to remain below a certain level of warming requires larger and faster emission reductions than a temperature target requiring, for example, a return to a certain degree of warming by the year 2100. This has a concrete impact on policies – and emissions trajectories – and, as a result, the Climate Action Tracker has made sure to use channels that are fully in line with the objectives.
President Obama was able to formally enshrine the United States in the agreement through executive measures because he did not impose new legal obligations on the country. The United States already has a number of instruments on the books, under laws already passed by Congress to reduce carbon pollution. The country officially joined the agreement in September 2016, after submitting its request for participation. The Paris Agreement was only able to enter into force after the formal accession of at least 55 nations representing at least 55% of global emissions. This happened on October 5, 2016 and the agreement came into force 30 days later, on November 4, 2016. The Paris Agreement has an “upward” structure unlike most international environmental treaties, which are “top down”, characterized by internationally defined standards and objectives that states must implement.  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.”