What does « Alignment with the Paris agreement» mean ?

20 September 2019 - Blog post - By : Alice PAUTHIER

I4CE has just released a “framework for Alignment with the Paris Agreement”, Alice Pauthier discusses here what “Alignment” simply means.



Paris Alignment: stopping harm and supporting transformation

Since the signature of the Paris Agreement, more and more financial institutions and economic actors are committing to ‘align with its goals’. However, there is currently no common understanding of what ‘Alignment’ with the Paris Agreement means. In our recent report, I4CE  has gone back to the Paris Agreement to propose a framework to help define this concept and process. Our results stress that a commitment to “Paris Alignment” is a commitment to support the achievement of the three goals of the Paris Agreement on mitigation, adaptation and finance. To do so, actors and institutions need to scale-down all activities that do not contribute to these goals – and seek whenever possible to contribute to both the incremental and transformative changes needed to achieve a low-GHG, climate-resilient development. While action on climate change must occur globally, actors should seek to take into account the national contexts and pathways of economies and societies.



How is this different from what financial institutions and other actors are already doing on climate change?

Governments, financial institutions and economic actors have often started to integrate climate change in their strategies and operations. Paris Alignment implies building on these existing approaches – but requires to take into account three additional ‘dimensions’:


  • First, actors should look across all of their activities and consider their impact on systems and value chains.
  • Second, actors should look at both the near-term effects of its activities on climate action (emissions, resilience), but also seek to make sure it is also supporting a decarbonized and resilient future.
  • Third, actors should actively seek to contribute to climate goals by ensuring that all activities 1) Do No Harm; 2) Support Paris-Consistent Climate Co-Benefits; and 3) whenever possible Foster Transformative Outcomes.



Which actors will take action to align with Paris and why?

All economic actors – whether seeking sustainable development impacts or with a commercial focus – have an interest to align their activities with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement:


  1. Many will be called to directly contribute to the achievement of the long-term climate goals by shareholders and other stakeholders;
  2. All will need to manage the risks and opportunities associated with the needed transformation of the economy and the financial environment; and
  3. All will need to take into account and respond to the changing physical climate.


However, the direct contribution of each economic actor to achieving these long-term goals will vary depending on their mandates, roles and responsibilities. Not all will be able to value and take into consideration non-financial returns on investment. In all cases, they will nevertheless need to rapidly scale-down their counterproductive activities and “Do No Harm”.

To learn more
  • 01/20/2023 Foreword of the week
    2023’s resolutions for a reform of development finance

    2022 ended up on a consensus that the global financial architecture is no longer “fit for purpose”. In other words, the financial ecosystem created post-war to support international development – at the centre of which are the IMF and the World Bank who were joined later by other international public financial institutions – wasn’t designed to address the multiplicity of challenges the world is facing today, foremost among which climate change. Time is running, and the good news is that 2023 is set up to be a busy year with key events setting the milestones for a reform of the international financial architecture, including a Paris Summit in June. The year will close at COP 28, where we will officially take stock of current achievements.

  • 01/19/2023 Blog post
    Here’s to an impactful new year for financial reform

    2023 will be busy with many events organised to address different parts of the financial architecture reform, including a Paris Summit in June. Alice Pauthier from [i4ce] tells you more about this agenda and identifies two conditions for a successful reform process. First, it has to be led by countries’ financing needs… wheras we are still lacking a granular analysis of countries’ investment needs for a sustainable development. Second, it has to be guided by the objective of maximising the impact of public finance. What we should count is the impact of public finance on the transition and not only volumes.

  • 01/16/2023
    Landscape of climate finance in France – 2022 edition

    2022, France is paying dearly for a dependence on fossil fuels maintained by a chronic lack of investment in the decarbonisation of the economy. This edition of the Landscape of climate finance in France makes a detailed analysis of these critical expenditures by households, companies and public authorities, in the retrofitting of buildings, the purchase of electric vehicles, and renewable energies, as well as in rail, cycling and urban public transport infrastructures. Encouragingly, climate investments have increased significantly in the past year, driven, among other factors, by favourable regulations and by state support under the recovery plan. But this growth remains fragile, and analysis of several transition scenarios shows that climate investments need to increase further in order to stay on track to carbon neutrality and to ensure a lasting reduction in France’s dependence on fossil fuels.

See all publications
Press contact Amélie FRITZ Head of Communication and press relations Email
Subscribe to our mailing list :
I register !
Subscribe to our newsletter
Once a week, receive all the information on climate economics
I register !