Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Landmark Paris Climate Pact to Take Effect in 30 Days

European lawmakers (left to right) Francoise Grossetete of France, Manfred Weber of Germany and Jozsef Szajer of Hungary vote in favor of the Paris climate change agreement on Tuesday. (Credit: Jean-Francois Badias/AP) Click to Enlarge.
Moving with a diplomatic haste rivaling the rapid recent rise in global temperatures, the European Union on Wednesday joined dozens of countries in signing onto a United Nations climate treaty, pushing it to within a month of taking legal force.

Following the filing of paperwork in recent weeks by 73 countries, collectively responsible for 57 percent of annual climate emissions, a key threshold for the Paris agreement was passed Wednesday.  The U.N. said the treaty will take effect Nov. 4.


The European Parliament voted Tuesday to ratify the landmark Paris climate accord, paving the way for the international plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions to become binding as soon as the end of this week.

With U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon watching, representatives from the 28 European Union member countries voted 610 to 38 in favor of the agreement. Now each individual country must sign off before the ratification documents can be formally presented to the United Nations.

The climate agreement has two requirements before it can go into effect:  It must be ratified by 55 nations, and the ratifying countries must account for 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.  As of Sunday, when India formally turned in its paperwork, the totals stood at 62 countries producing about 52 percent of emissions.

With the EU on board, the emissions total will cross the 55-percent mark.

"It is truly an honor to be able to witness the historic moment," Ban said after the vote passed, and said he "looked forward to the Paris agreement entering into force as soon as possible, in just a few days' time."

Ban has pushed to move the agreement quickly since more than 180 countries initially agreed to it at the Paris climate conference last December.  "The entry into force of the Paris agreement less than one year after its signature is a massive achievement, given that it took eight years for the Kyoto protocol," said European Parliament President Martin Schulz, referring to the agreement's predecessor which was agreed upon in 1997 but did not go into effect until 2005.

Once the agreement officially goes into effect, it becomes binding for four years for all the nations that ratified it.  The next step for the U.N. is deciding how it will monitor and enforce the deal, NPR's Christopher Joyce reports.

Read more at Landmark Paris Climate Pact to Take Effect in 30 Days

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