The Paris Rulebook is a set of rules that aims to enable the Paris Agreement from 2015. The latter, is an agreement among the UNFCCC nations to make a collective response to climate change. As well known, the goal is to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. Hence, the nations needed common guidelines. Therefore, they decided to discuss a set of rules 3 years later, creating the Paris Rulebook in 2018.
The Paris Rulebook (also known as Katowice Climate Package) was agreed on at COP24 in 2018, in Katowice, Poland. However, a few unresolved issues remained. Therefore, the set of rules was first completed at COP26 in 2021.
The Paris Rulebook from 2018
For the world to reach the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, actions need to improve over time. Therefore, the countries created an improvement cycle. The main parts of this cycle are:
First, nations are expected to plan and report on their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDCs are yearly reports stating action plans on how to work with climate change. Then, each country is expected to put their plans into action (implement). Finally, the nations are to review their individual and collective progress. To eventually inform future planning and their upcoming NDCs. Hence, creating a cycle of improvement.
The improvement cycle works as a base for countries to make the Paris Agreement a reality. More so, the Paris Rulebook is considered a detailed guidebook on how to work with the plan-implement-review cycle.
Furthermore, the nations decided to take a “global stocktake” every five years. The stocktake assesses the collective efforts of all nations. The purpose is to enable a consistent improvement with time.
However, there were some elements that were not agreed on at COP24. One was the guidelines for carbon markets.
Agreeing on the Paris Rulebook at COP26
Before COP26, the goals for the meeting regarding the Paris Rulebook were to
1. Find an agreement on the guidelines for carbon markets
2. Resolve issues with transparency (regarding the commitments that countries make)
3. Agree on a commitment that drives the ambition from governments to keep the 1.5 degree target alive
These issues were resolved at COP26, finalising the Paris Rulebook.