Science News

Paris Climate Change Agreement To Take Effect On Nov. 4

Photo from the United Nations

The momentous Paris climate change agreement is set to take effect on November 4, after an alliance of the planet’s largest polluters and small island countries affected by rising oceans pushed things past a culminating point on Wednesday.

The news was met with applause from world leaders. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the solid international support as “a testament for the urgency of action,” while United States President Barack Obama heralded the news as “a turning point for our planet,” the Washington Post reports.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq announced Wednesday that the European Union and ten other countries – Austria, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, Portugal, and Slovakia – submitted their instruments of ratification on Wednesday. The percentage of emissions these countries account for in total surpassed the 55% threshold necessary for the treaty to take effect, Haq said.

In a statement, Ban said,

I am delighted to announce that today the Paris Agreement will cross the second and final threshold needed for entry into force, and will enter into force on 4 November 2016.

The agreement will take effect 30 days after 55 countries that are responsible for at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse gasses have adopted it. As of Tuesday, 62 countries had agreed, but they had only accounted for 52% of emissions.

The United Nations website declared that as of Wednesday, 73 of the 197 countries in the treaty that account for 56.87% of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ramification.

The Paris agreement holds participating countries, rich and poor alike, to take action and address the rise in global temperatures that are currently raising sea levels, melting ice caps and glaciers, and rainfall patterns. The agreement mandates nations to present their respective plans on how to reduce emissions to limit global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius.

The goals set out are not legally binding, but the treaty does entail that countries report on their emissions and progress on achieving the goals set out last year in the plans they submitted. The countries are likewise required to maintain these programs, update them every five years and take measure to implement their goals.

The agreement was ratified by consensus on December 12, 2015, and has taken off in what experts believe to be a record speed for international negotiations, highlighting the urgency that global warming poses and the need to seal the deal before Ban and Obama leave office.

The next UN climate conference will begin on Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morroco, where the first Conference of Parties to the Paris agreement will take place.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - Get Important Content Like This Delivered Directly To You

Get important content and more delivered to you once or twice a week.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.