Sunday, October 16, 2016

Explainer:  Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ‘Enter into Force’

 Ban Ki-moon greets former US Vice President and climate activist Al Gore at the luncheon on 22 April. (Credit:   UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe) Click to Enlarge.
The Paris Agreement will formally come into force next month, legally binding countries that have ratified the deal to act on the pledges made last year.

This includes a commitment by every country to prepare increasingly ambitious pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions every five years, known as Nationally Determined Contributions.

There were two thresholds that had to be crossed before the deal could come into force:  at least 55 countries covering at least 55% of global emissions had to ratify the deal.

The first of these thresholds was passed on 21 September. As of today, 74 countries have ratified the deal.  The EU’s fast-tracked ratification, which concluded on 4 October with the European Parliament’s vote in favor, has now pushed the deal over the second threshold.

The deal won’t come into force instantly.  The Paris Agreement stipulates that this will happen 30 days after both the thresholds have been crossed.  The UN says this will be on 4 November.

But it does mean that it will be in force before countries meet again for their first major UN climate meeting since Paris — and before the US elections on the 8 November.
What does this mean?
The entry into force of the Paris Agreement has a number of important implications.

It means that many of the provisions set out in December will now become legally binding on nations that have ratified.  This includes drawing up plans to tackle climate change and providing financial and technical support to developing countries.  They will also have to undertake appropriate adaptation actions.  Carbon Brief has an interactive graphic setting out the full details of the final deal.

Countries cannot withdraw from the agreement for three years following its entry into force.  If a country decides to exit after this time has expired, they need to wait another year before they can formally leave.

Read more at Explainer:  Paris Agreement on Climate Change to ‘Enter into Force’

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