India Signs Climate Pact Along With Over 170 Countries at UN

Over 170 countries have agreed to sign the historic agreement aimed at countering climate change.

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Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signing the Paris Climate Change agreement in New York on Friday, 22 April 2016. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/PrakashJavdekar/status/723557440315351041">Twitter.com/@PrakashJavdekar</a>)

India signed the historic Paris climate agreement along with over 170 nations, marking a significant step, in New York on Friday. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement in the UN General Assembly hall at a high-level ceremony hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signing the Paris Climate Change agreement in New York on Friday, 22 April 2016. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/IndiaDPRNewYork/status/723554114962116608">Twitter.com/@IndiaDPRNewYork</a>)
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signing the Paris Climate Change agreement in New York on Friday, 22 April 2016. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter.com/@IndiaDPRNewYork)

The ceremony was attended by heads of government, ministers, corporate leaders and artists.

“This is a moment in history. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future,” Ban said, adding that, “We are in a race against time.”

The opening ceremony included music from students of New York’s Julliard School and a short video bringing the “gavel moment” from Paris to the signature ceremony. Oscar award winner Leonardo DiCaprio was also in attendance.

With 171 nations, the signing ceremony set the record for most countries to sign an international agreement on one day, previously set in 1982, when 119 countries signed the Law of the Sea Convention.

The signing is the first step toward ensuring that the agreement comes into force as soon as possible.

After the signing, countries must take the further national (or domestic) step of accepting or ratifying the agreement.

The agreement can enter into force 30 days after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions, ratify the agreement.

India has maintained that the burden of fighting climate change cannot be put on the shoulders of the poor after decades of industrial development by the rich nations.

The level of development we have reached is far, still the hard reality is we have a lot of distance to cover. We need more housing, power, toilets, roads and factories. Therefore our requirements of fuel is certainly going to increase. Notwithstanding that our own standards of protecting the environment are very rigid. There is a method in each one of the steps we are taking. We are conscious of our responsibilities.
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister 

(With PTI inputs)

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