Your charity for Scotland’s environment

Paris Agreement Analysis

The Paris Agreement: Meeting the People of Scotland's Expectations? 

In the days following the announcement of a new international agreement on climate change, a huge range of climate change experts, politicians, academics, and the media have rushed to assess the new agreement and set out what they believe it will mean for governments and businesses around the world. 

While, ultimately we welcome the agreement we have chosen to undertake our analysis of the Paris Agreement in a different way. We believe that the thing that matters most about the Paris Agreement is how it affects people - people in Scotland and people around the world, how it stacks up against the asks and needs of people, and the way it outlines opportunities for us all to deliver climate change solutions for people. 

In the run up to the Paris talks our ‘Conversations About COP21’ was an eight week consultation on the United Nations climate change negotiations and engaged with a total of 803 individuals. We gathered views from a broad spectrum of people in Scotland from young people to public bodies, businesses and communities. The results of the consultation were collated in our 'Conversations About COP21 Summary Report' and shared with the Scottish Government prior to COP21. 

Instead of doing our own analysis of whether the Paris Agreement is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, we have analysed the agreement on behalf of people. We compared the conclusions from our 'Conversations About COP21 Summary Report' to the outcomes of the Paris Agreement to draw some conclusions and demonstrate where the new agreement delivers on the priorities of people in Scotland and where it doesn’t. 

Our comparison shows that seven of the asks from ‘Conversations About COP21 Summary Report’ have been met in full, six have been partially met and five have not been met. We hope that this approach helps people in Scotland to understand what the agreement means to them and whether it matches their aspirations. 

We believe it is not yet the time to make a concluding assessment of the Agreement. As any new national law should be judged on its outcomes and not on its linguistic complexities, for this international agreement we will do the same, and focus on the outcomes for people and places all over the world instead of the rhetoric. 

We must remember that all of us are responsible for the outcomes delivered from the Agreement. In due course, when it comes time to judge the agreement for its outcomes, we will need to judge them holistically. This includes our own work, as well as that of the Scottish Government, the public sector, businesses, third sector organisations, communities, and individuals in Scotland. We will reflect on all of our ability to deliver action on climate change and play our part in the much-needed transition to a low carbon world. 

We look forward to continuing the conversation that we began with our consultation in the new year. 

You can find our analysis of the Paris Agreement here 

You can find our ‘Conversations About COP21 Summary Report here 

You can find ways to take action on climate change here 

Please get in touch with David Gunn if you have any questions about Keep Scotland Beautiful’s assessment of the agreement at david.gunn@keepscotlandbeautiful.org.