Paris Climate Accord Ratified, to Start Next Month: UN

Obama called the ratification of the Paris climate accord – an “historic day” in the fight against climate change.

Updated
World
2 min read
(From L to R) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, French Minister for Environment  Segolene Royal, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, after the lawmakers endorsed the agreement to limit global warming at the European Parliament on 4 Oct, 2016. (Photo: AP)

A global agreement to combat climate change by shifting the world economy away from fossil fuels will take force next month after passing a threshold for ratification on Wednesday with support from European nations.

Support for the Paris Agreement has widened to nations representing 56.75 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions, above the 55 percent needed for implementation, a UN website showed. The deal will formally start in 30 days.

European Union countries including Germany, France and Slovakia, which have completed domestic ratification, helped trigger the formal entry into force after a green light from the European Parliament on Tuesday.

The agreement, reached in December 2015, already has support from other major emitters led by China, the United States and India. In total, 72 countries out of 195 have ratified the agreement, according to the UN website.

US President Barack Obama called the ratification of the Paris climate accord – an "historic day" in the fight against climate change.

President Barack Obama arrived with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Dr Katharine Hayhoe, to talk about climate change as part of the White House South by South Lawn event  in Washington on 3 Oct, 2016. (Photo: AP)
President Barack Obama arrived with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Dr Katharine Hayhoe, to talk about climate change as part of the White House South by South Lawn event in Washington on 3 Oct, 2016. (Photo: AP)

Several nations hailed the rapid ratification of an agreement meant to cut global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, to limit floods, droughts, more powerful storms and rising ocean levels.

It took eight years for the previous UN climate deal, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that obliged only rich nations to cut emissions, to gain enough backing to take effect.

Entry into force "demonstrates unprecedented political momentum for climate action and bodes well for us moving forward", said Thoriq Ibrahim, Environment Minister for the Maldives and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States.

But he urged stronger action against global warming, saying "it is no exaggeration to say we are in a race against time".

The Paris Agreement will take force just before the US presidential election on Nov 8. Republican Donald Trump opposes the accord while Democrat Hillary Clinton is a strong supporter.

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