Greenland Signs Up for Paris Agreement on Climate Change


Photo: Lisa Ouellette

14 November 2023 marks the day Greenland signed up for the Paris Agreement by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This legally binding international treaty from 2015 has been signed by 195 nations and the EU parliament. It establishes the aim to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2.0 Celsius and preferably to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 Celsius. To achieve this aim, the member states commit to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result of a recent voting in the Greenlandic parliament, Inatsisartut, the country signed up for the Paris Agreement on 14 November. The agreement was signed after a thorough legal investigation to protect Greenland’s economic growth and indigenous societies.

The thorough groundwork shows that the Paris Agreement is not a hindrance to Greenland’s development; on the contrary, says Kalistat Lund, Minister for Agriculture, Self-Supply, Energy and Environment, in a press release from the Government of Greenland.

Greenland, being part of the Kingdom of Denmark, has a high degree of autonomy in local decision-making through the Greenlandic parliament, Inatsisartut. Denmark will not be part of the climate agreement in Greenland.

The Greenlandic government, Naalakkersuisut, should now develop a national climate strategy. The strategy will include climate goals and set the direction for how Greenland can achieve economic growth alongside the green transition.

Based on the climate strategy, a nationally determined contribution (NDC) will be established, containing climate goals for each sector. However, Greenland may decide to exclude certain sectors, such as natural resources and/or fisheries.

Greenland’s NDC is expected to be submitted to the UNFCCC, taking effect from 2030. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to update an NDC every five years.

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Source: United Nations