COP21, the Paris agreement

Annual gatherings of the “conference of parties (COP)” have taken place since 1995. The 1997 COP (COP3) in Kyoto led to the establishment of the Kyoto protocol. As part of this agreement, all EU member states agreed to share the climate burden and committed to individual climate protection targets, with the overall goal to bring greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012 down by 5.2% on average as compared to the 1990 baseline year. Austria’s concrete emissions reduction target was 13%. So far, these efforts have not produced the expected results; latest statistics show emissions in Austria to be significantly above the Kyoto target.

A follow-up on the Kyoto agreement was concluded at COP21 in Paris in 2015. This contains a binding target for the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels and to push renewable energies until they account for at least 27% of the energy consumed. Also, there is an indicative target of energy savings to the amount of 27%. All these are to be achieved by 2030.  The agreement generally aims to keep global warming below 2°C, possibly even below 1.5%. Individual targets for the EU’s member states are not fixed.