“I am not suggesting that a particular language in the Paris agreement will lead to a collapse or rupture or that adaptations of the language could avoid a downward spiral,” Sachs writes. “The destabilizing factors are exogenous of the agreement and reflect the strategic interests of the major powers. The problem is not the language of the treaty. Climate change naturally creates thorny and intractable incentives for non-cooperation and parasitism. The idea behind the agreement is to tell each country that it is at least beginning to reduce emissions. The only way to do that, to get countries out of their defensive stools is to give up sanctions or enforcement mechanisms. Without this threat, it was thought, countries would be more open about what they were willing to do. If there were nothing else, it would at least give a clear degree of global ambition. (I have described the logic of Paris in more detail.) Nicolas Holiber`s old wood carvings highlight the threat that climate change poses to bird towns. Another key difference between the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol is its scope. While the Kyoto Protocol distinguishes between Schedule 1 countries and those not annexed to Schedule 1, this branch is scrambled in the Paris Agreement, as all parties must submit emission reduction plans.  While the Paris Agreement continues to emphasize the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities” – the recognition that different nations have different capacities and duties to combat climate change – it does not offer a specific separation between developed and developing countries.  It therefore appears that negotiators will have to continue to address this issue in future rounds of negotiations, although the debate on differentiation could take on a new dynamic.  Collapse occurs when the inability of major economies to achieve their goals is increasingly criticized and other countries make minimal commitments or slow down their own goals, leading to a “low-level balance” in which NDCs remain static or only gradually increase.
Or countries could start withdrawing their NDCs and presenting less ambitious countries. The Paris Agreement is generally regarded by scientists as a single ratchet that allows only increases in NDCs, but without a mechanism to enforce this standard, it can only apply as long as a large country needs it to violate it. InDCs become CNDs – nationally determined contributions – as soon as a country formally adheres to the agreement. There are no specific requirements as to how or how many countries should reduce emissions, but there were political expectations about the nature and rigour of the targets set by different countries. As a result, the scale and ambition of national plans vary widely, largely reflecting each country`s capacity, level of development and contribution to emissions over time. China, for example, has committed to cleaning up its CO2 emissions by 2030 at the latest and reducing CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60-65% by 2030 from 2005 levels. India has set a target of reducing emissions intensity by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030 and producing 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels. “Green energy is not yet a substitute for fossil fuels – it`s just expanding it,” says Timothy Lenton, a climatologist at the University of Exeter in the UK.