The EU and its member states are among the nearly 190 parties to the Paris Agreement. The EU formally ratified the agreement on 5 October 2016, allowing it to enter into force on 4 November 2016. In order for the agreement to enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions had to file their ratification instruments. The Paris Agreement is the first legally binding universal global agreement on climate change adopted at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015. The Paris Agreement is the first truly comprehensive commitment to the fight against the climate crisis. In 2015, 195 countries and the European Union signed a single comprehensive agreement to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius – and to do everything in its power to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. The pioneering agreement was successful where previous attempts failed because each country set its own emission reduction targets and adopted its own strategies to achieve them. In addition, nations, inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, businesses and others, have recognized that the fight against climate change brings considerable socio-economic benefits. Currently, 197 countries – every nation on earth, the last signatory is war-torn Syria – have adopted the Paris Agreement. 179 of them have consolidated their climate proposals with official approval, including, for the time being, the United States. The only major emitters that have yet to formally accede to the agreement are Russia, Turkey and Iran.
To contribute to the goals of the agreement, countries presented comprehensive national climate change plans (national fixed contributions, NDC). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points to the way forward for further measures. In addition, countries are working to reach „the global peak in greenhouse gas emissions“ as soon as possible. The agreement has been described as an incentive and engine for the sale of fossil fuels.   The United States played an important role in the organization and negotiation of the Paris Agreement and signed it in 2015. As one of its signatories, the United States has committed to reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025 from 1990 levels. However, in 2017, the federal government announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement after a new government took office and in November.