The Paris Agreement: From COP21 to the Earth Day Signing Ceremony, and Beyond

View from the inside as the Paris Agreement was adopted, December 12, 2015.
View from the inside as the Paris Agreement was adopted, December 12, 2015.

December 12, 2015 was a pretty big deal day, as it marked the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Tomorrow, however, is when that big deal day has the opportunity to become the real deal, as the Paris Agreement opens up for signing by all Heads of State at a high-level signing ceremony at the United Nations in New York.  

There are a lot of great blogs, articles and interactives out there to help you dig in a little deeper on the technicalities, as well as the opportunity to watch the live stream from the United Nations. If you’re an educator looking to highlight international climate negotiations in your classroom this week or in the coming months, this is also a great opportunity to look back at our Window Into Paris: COP21 and Expedition Copenhagen archive, as well as our Citizen Climate curriculum.

Here are a few other resources to look into:

  • This World Resources Institute blog is a great primer to begin with: After COP21: What Needs to Happen for the Paris Agreement to Take Effect?
  • In this video, Santiago Villalpando of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs speaks to the significance of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and why it’s so important that it’s signed by all parties.
  • CAIT Climate Explorer offers a number of awesome opportunities to explore data visually, and the Paris Agreement Tracker will become active tomorrow as parties begin to sign on. Explore it here.
  • Climate Interactive, which brought us the World Climate Game, has released a new analysis that shows how much further countries need to go in bringing their pledges in line with the goals the Paris Agreement sets out. Read it here.
  • The Yale Program on Climate Communication published an article showing recent survey results that illustrate the strength of American support for an International Climate Agreement.
  • Finally, here is the program and overview of the actual signing ceremony tomorrow, including a link to the viewing of the ceremony online.

As the Paris Agreement moves from words to actions, there are many ways that you can show your support and amplify the work towards making this agreement a reality. Use the hashtag #SignTheAgreement on social media, post a photo of yourself holding up the #ClimateSign, aks your students to share why this is important and use the hashtag #youth4climate, and sign the agreement as a citizen signer at You can also check out our social media toolkit for additional ways to engage. Happy Earth Day!

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