It is rare that there is a consensus among almost all nations on a single subject. But with the Paris agreement, world leaders agreed that climate change was driven by human behaviour, that it was a threat to the environment and to humanity as a whole, and that global action was needed to stop it. In addition, a clear framework has been put in place for all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions and strengthen these measures over time. Here are some main reasons why the agreement is so important: to judge whether self-differentiation is compatible with subtle differentiation, we have distinguished three categories of countries: the industrialized countries listed in Schedule I of the UNFCCC; LDC and SIDS (following the subtle differentiation of the Paris Agreement) and other countries (which we call „emerging economies”). We analysed whether these categories of countries had identifiable cascading results compared to the subtle differentiation found in the Paris Agreement (see Table 1). For example, if 70% of LDCs and SIDS included a particular topic in their NDCs, compared to only 40% of emerging countries and only 10% of Schedule I countries, such a cascade would demonstrate self-differentiation on the part of the NDCs on this issue. On the other hand, if similar percentages of emerging countries and LDCs and SIDS contain a particular subject, no cascades are demonstrated, meaning that self-differentiation would remain dichotomous. The method is described in more detail in the additional online information. Another key difference between the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol is its scope. While the Kyoto Protocol distinguishes between Schedule 1 countries and those not annexed to Schedule 1, this branch is scrambled in the Paris Agreement, as all parties must submit emission reduction plans.  While the Paris Agreement continues to emphasize the principle of „common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities” – the recognition that different nations have different capacities and duties to combat climate change – it does not offer a specific separation between developed and developing countries.  It therefore appears that negotiators will have to continue to address this issue in future rounds of negotiations, although the debate on differentiation could take on a new dynamic.  We also thank the public for the 2018 Earth System Governance Conference, where an earlier version of this article was presented.
Finally, we thank the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, the University of Eastern LaFin and the African Centre for Technology Studies for their financial contribution to making this open access article available. Km supported by the Green Talents Fellowship of other funds of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a research stay at the German Institute of Development/German Institute for Development Policy (DIE) in the early stages of this research. The NDC partnership was launched at COP22 in Marrakech to improve cooperation so that countries have access to the technical knowledge and financial support they need to achieve major climate and sustainable development goals.