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175 World Leaders Sign Historic Climate Agreement


On Earth Day 2016, world leaders met and signed the Paris Agreement. This is only the second step in adopting the global climate agreement that was reached last year at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21).

The purpose of the agreement is to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change at a global level. The actions discussed in the agreement will take effect 30 days after 55 countries begin the ratification process. Although 175 world leaders signed the agreement this month, only 15 have started the process.

Most of the 15 nations that have started the ratification process are small island nations. Small island nations are typically the first to feel the impacts of a warming planet. Palestine and Belize have also started the process.

“The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his opening statement at the signing.

Because this is just one of many steps in adopting the global climate agreement, the UN Secretary General urged the member states to act quickly on a national level. He said that implementing the agreement would end poverty, create jobs in the green sector, fight hunger and “improve the lives of girls and women.” 

Five outcomes of the Paris include the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperatures below a 2° C increase, strengthening countries’ resources in order manage a changing climate, improving the recovery efforts for nations impacted by climate change and providing financial support to developing nations for sustainable infrastructure.

The next COP will be held this fall in Morocco.

In May, the Climate Action 2016 meeting will take place in Washington, D.C. At the meeting leaders and experts from the private and public sectors will meet to discuss the future COP. The next COP will be held this fall in Morocco.

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