The Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force on November 4 as enough countries have signed onto the landmark accord to bring it to the emissions threshold that will trigger its implementation, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has said.
“This is a momentous occasion,” the secretary-general said after the deal was ratified by 72 countries accounting for more than 56 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Global momentum for the Paris Agreement to enter into force in 2016 has been remarkable. What once seemed unthinkable is now unstoppable. Strong international support for the Paris Agreement entering into force is a testament to the urgency for action, and reflects the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge,” he added.
India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, had ratified the Paris climate agreement on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2, becoming the 62nd country to deposit its legal instrument of ratification for the climate pact and bringing the global pact “tantalizingly” close to entering into force.
Ban had “warmly” congratulated India for ratifying and formally joining the Paris Agreement, and had said India’s leadership moves the world an important step closer toward the 55 per cent threshold needed for the historic agreement’s entry into force this year.
India accounts for 4.1 per cent of the emissions and after it joined the agreement, the Paris pact had needed slightly more than three percentage points to reach the 55 per cent threshold to enter into force.
The requirements for entry into force were satisfied on Wednesday when Austria, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, Portugal and Slovakia, as well as the European Union, deposited their instruments of ratification with the secretary-general.
The Agreement will now enter into force in time for the Climate Conference (COP 22) in Morocco in November, where countries will convene the first Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement.
Countries that have not yet joined may participate as observers.
The UN chief, however, cautioned that the work of implementing the agreement still lay ahead.
“Now we must move from words to deeds and put Paris into action. We need all hands on deck -- every part of society must be mobilised to reduce emissions and help communities adapt to inevitable climate impacts,” he stressed.
“I urge all governments and all sectors of society to implement the Paris Agreement in full and to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and support the most vulnerable in adapting to inevitable climate impacts,” he said.
Meanwhile, welcoming the news that the Paris agreement on climate change will enter into force in 30 days, US President Barack Obama has termed it as a “turning point” for protecting the planet for future generations by avoiding some of the worst consequences of global warming.
“Today is a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations... Today, the world has officially crossed the threshold for the Paris Agreement to take effect. Today, the world meets the moment. And if we follow through on the commitments that this agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet,” Obama said in his remarks at the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday.
At the same time, Obama said Paris Agreement alone will not solve the climate crisis.
“Even if we meet every target embodied in the agreement, we’ll only get to part of where we need to go. But make no mistake, this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change,” he argued.
“It will help other nations ratchet down their dangerous carbon emissions over time, and set bolder targets as technology advances, all under a strong system of transparency that allows each nation to evaluate the progress of all other nations,” he added.
“And by sending a signal that this is going to be our future -- a clean energy future -- it opens up the floodgates for businesses, and scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation at a scale that we’ve never seen before,” Obama asserted.
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