INDIA ON Sunday ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change, becoming the 62nd country to join the nascent pact finalised in the French capital last December and putting the ten-month-old global deal on the fast track to an early entry in force, possibly by next month.
“Care & concern towards nature is integral to the Indian ethos. India is committed to doing everything possible to mitigate climate change,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter, after India’s permanent representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin handed over the instrument of ratification to Santiago Villalpando, chief of Treaty Section at the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs.
“Great push to global actions to address climate change,” Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said in a tweet.
India’s ratification, timed to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, was welcomed globally. “Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, @narendramodi & the Indian people carry on that legacy,” US President Barack Obama posted on Twitter. Prime Minister Modi’s tweet was in response to Obama’s message.
Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, @narendramodi & the Indian people carry on that legacy.
— President Obama (@POTUS) October 2, 2016
France, too, commended India and so did Patricia Espinosa, head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which came into being at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992 to set the ball rolling for a global deal.
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) October 2, 2016
“The government of India declares its understanding that, as per its national laws, keeping in view its development agenda, particularly the eradication of poverty and provision of basic needs of all its citizens, coupled with its commitment to following the low carbon path to progress, and on the assumption of unencumbered availability of cleaner sources of energy and technologies and financial resources from around the world, and based on a fair and ambitious assessment of global commitment to combating climate change, it is ratifying the Paris Agreement,” India said in its instrument of ratification.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that “this significant contribution towards early entry into force of Paris Agreement” underlined Prime Minister Modi’s “commitment to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice” and reaffirmed “India’s responsive leadership” in addressing climate change.
Together, the countries that have joined the Paris Agreement account for about 51.89 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement can come into force on the 30th day after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions, have submitted their ratifications.
China and the United States, the two biggest emitters, ratified the agreement in September, while the European Union and Russia, which along with India, make up the top five emitters, are expected to do so soon. If the minimum requirement is met later this week, through ratification by EU or Russia, or any other combination of countries, the Paris Agreement will be in force by the time the next climate change conference begins in Marrakech in Morocco on November 7.
The Paris Agreement seeks to spur global action to reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, fast enough to prevent catastrophic effects of climate change. It also seeks to give an impetus to actions being taken to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and raise financial and technological resources to do so.
The Paris Agreement was initially supposed to come into operation in 2020 when the Kyoto Protocol, the existing international arrangement to deal with climate change, expires. But that deadline was later dropped — it can now come into existence immediately after the 30-day period following the minimum ratifications is over. For a few years, both Paris Agreement as well as the Kyoto Protocol would exist side by side.