Saturday, October 01, 2016

EU Vote Sets Up Paris Agreement for an Early Start

By adding 28 European to states the list of ratifiers, the Paris agreement would pass the threshold needed to go into force this year, far earlier than expected.

The European Union voted to ratify the Paris climate agreement on Friday. (Credit: Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
After months of foot-dragging, the European Union's Council of Ministers voted unanimously on Friday to fast-track EU approval of the Paris climate agreement. The European Parliament is expected to vote to ratify the agreement on Tuesday, which would put the Paris deal into force in early November, before the next global climate conference in Morocco.

"This proves that Europe can still be a leader in climate policy even though there was much doubt about this lately," said Reimund Schwarze, a climate policy expert with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany.  "There was some concern that the China-U.S. axis would start running the climate policy machine.

"Leadership in climate is part of the vision for the future of Europe."

So far, 61 countries, representing almost 48 percent of global emissions, have ratified the Paris agreement.  The EU's 28 member states produce about 10 percent of the world's greenhouse gas pollution.  Their vote would push the emissions reduction commitments past the threshold necessary to send the Paris agreement into force early, much faster than the goal of 2020 set during last year's Paris conference.  It needs at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions.

The United Nations has said it hopes entry into force would spur other signatories to ratify as soon as possible, "to ensure universal participation in its implementation."  Once in force, the ambitious agreement could stimulate immediate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which is seen as critical to reaching the goal of capping global warming at less than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.

The treaty's ultimate objective is no net additions of greenhouse gases sometime in the second half of this century, and the sooner the better.

Read more at EU Vote Sets Up Paris Agreement for an Early Start

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