The Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015 and entered into force in February 2020. However, negotiations regarding the Paris agreement rulebook were first completed in November 2021 when the Parties reached an agreement at COP26.
Within the Paris Agreement, all countries have drawn up their own nationally determined contributions (NDCs), setting individual targets for emission reductions. As opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, all countries under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) now have a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change. The long-term target of the Paris agreement – to limit global warming to well below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels, aiming for 1.5 °C – requires countries increase their ambition over time. This means that countries are expected to update their NDCs once every five years.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement recognizes the possibility for voluntary cooperation among countries in order to raise their ambitions. The Swedish Energy Agency has been commissioned by the Swedish government to finance initiatives that develop new forms of international cooperation under the Paris Agreement, especially within its Article 6.
In December 2018, the Parties adopted a rulebook for the Paris Agreement. The rulebook describes how the Paris Agreement should be implemented and contains common guidelines for planning, communication, methodology, reporting, evaluation, and review.
At first, the Parties were not able to agree upon all the parts of the rulebook. Instead, the negotiations were first completed in November 2021, when the Parties reached an agreement regarding the rules for international cooperation within Article 6, among other previously unresolved issues. Article 6 enables bilateral cooperation between countries and contains a new market mechanism for global trading with emissions.
The decision at COP26 regarding the rules for international cooperation constitutes a compromise. The decision enables cooperation within Article 6 to contribute to raised ambition for climate action and to avoid double counting of emission reductions. However, Sweden would have preferred more ambitious rules regarding sustainable development. Therefore, in addition to what is stipulated in the rulebook, the Swedish Energy Agency is working on including further requirements regarding contributions to sustainable development in all its partnerships.
The Role of the Swedish Energy Agency in the negotiations
The Swedish Energy Agency participates in the UN Climate Change negotiations as part of the Swedish delegation and is responsible for the negotiations regarding international cooperation within Article 6 under the Paris Agreement. Representing Sweden in the EU negotiation group on these issues, the Swedish Energy Agency advocates for regulatory frameworks to be robust and the promotion of sustainable development, transparency, and raised ambition.