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. Although the United States and Turkey are not parties to the agreement, as they have not indicated their intention to withdraw from the 1992 UNFCCC, they will continue to be required, as an “Annex 1” country under the UNFCCC, to end national communications and establish an annual inventory of greenhouse gases.  Since November 2020, 194 states and the European Union have signed the agreement. 187 countries and the EU, which account for about 79% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the agreement or have joined the agreement, including China and India, the countries with the first and third largest CO2 emissions among UNFCCC members.    As of November 2020[update], the United States, Iran and Turkey are the only countries with more than 1% not to be contracting parties. Due to the effects of the new global coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the UNFCCC has postponed most of its major climate events to 2021, including COP 26. The COVID 19 pandemic has also undermined countries` efforts to present new NDPs or NDPs that expire in 2020. On 12 December 2020, the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations, France and the United Kingdom, the President of COP 26, will jointly host a virtual global climate summit. National governments are invited to present more ambitious climate targets, “green” recovery plans for covid 19, new funding pledges and long-term decarbonisation targets. Once a party has joined the agreement, it cannot begin the withdrawal process for three years, but there is no financial penalty for withdrawal.
After Joe Biden`s victory in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the United States will once again join the Paris Agreement. While the agreement has been welcomed by many, including French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, criticism has also emerged. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and climate change expert, expressed anger that most of the agreement is made up of “promises” or goals, not firm commitments.  He called the Paris talks a fraud with “nothing, only promises” and believed that only a generalized tax on CO2 emissions, which is not part of the Paris agreement, would force CO2 emissions down fast enough to avoid the worst effects of global warming.  Zero net emissions are rapidly becoming the slogan of 2020, with China, Japan and South Korea joining the EU and the UK in setting carbon neutrality targets.