The agreement commits all countries to reduce their emissions and cooperate to adapt to the effects of climate change and calls on countries to strengthen their commitments over time. The agreement provides developed countries with a means to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts, while establishing a framework for monitoring and reporting transparently on developing countries` climate goals. November 9, 2018: The number of countries that have ratified the Paris agreement on climate change has reached 184. With 13 other ratifications, the Paris Agreement will have the same number of contracting parties as the UNFCCC, which is almost universal with 197 parties. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which set legally binding emission reduction targets (as well as penalties for non-compliance) only for industrialized countries, the Paris Agreement requires all countries – rich, poor, developed and developing – to take their share and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, the Paris Agreement provides for greater flexibility: commitments that countries should make are not included, countries can voluntarily set their emissions targets and countries will not be penalized if they do not meet their proposed targets. But what the Paris agreement requires is to monitor, report and reassess, over time, the objectives of individual and collective countries, in order to bring the world closer to the broader objectives of the agreement. And the agreement stipulates that countries must announce their next round of targets every five years, contrary to the Kyoto Protocol, which was aimed at this target but which contained no specific requirements to achieve this goal. Developed countries, while not legally required to contribute to the mitigation and adaptation efforts of developing countries, are encouraged to provide financial assistance and are held accountable for the funding they provide or are mobilized. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, illuminated in green to celebrate the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious agreement in history, on November 4, 2016 (Photo: Jean-Baptiste Gurliat/ Paris City Hall) A „national communication“ is a kind of report from the countries that have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Developed countries are required to submit national submissions every four years and developing countries should do so.    Some least developed countries have not submitted national communications in the past 5-15 years, mainly due to capacity constraints. 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.“ 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.  In 1992, President George H.W.
Bush joined 107 other heads of state at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil to adopt a series of environmental agreements, including the UNFCCC framework, which is still in force today.