Paris climate agreement reaches threshold, 73 countries ratify so far

Paris deal will possibly be the fastest entry into force for any international agreement, certainly for an agreement as global as this

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi | Published:October 6, 2016 9:47 am
paris agreement, paris climate agreement, paris climate change agreement, climate change, global warming FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in the United States (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

As was being expected, the Paris Agreement on climate change reached the threshold necessary to bring it into legal existence a month later, with European Union, Canada and several other parties submitting their instruments of ratification on Wednesday.

With the joining of the latest batch, so far, 73 countries have now ratified the agreement and together they account for 56.87 per cent of global greenhouse gases. This meets the double threshold — at least 55 countries together accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions — that was required for the agreement to enter into force.

The entry into force will happen on the 30th day from October 5, the day the threshold was reached. This means that by the time the next climate change conference begins in Marrakech from November 7, the Paris Agreement would have already evolved into a new legal entity.

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It will possibly be the fastest entry into force for any international agreement, certainly for an agreement as global as this. It has been less than a year since the Paris Agreement was negotiated and finalised at the French capital in December 2015.

“This is a truly historic moment for people everywhere… The speed at which countries have made the Paris Agreement’s entry into force possible is unprecedented in recent experience of international agreements, and is a powerful confirmation of the importance nations attach to combating climate change and realising the multitude of opportunities inherent in the Paris Agreement,” Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in a statement.

The members of the Paris Agreements, all the parties that have so far ratified it, will now meet separately at the Marrakech conference to negotiate the rules and procedures for the implementation of the agreement. This separate meeting, to be known, rather elaborately, as ‘Conference of Parties to the Convention (UNFCCC) serving as meeting of parties to the Paris Agreement’, or CMA in short, will become a regular affair at every annual climate change conference, just like the separate meeting of the members of Kyoto Protocol.

As a result of early entry into force, the Paris Agreement as well as the Kyoto Protocol that it seeks to replace will exist side by side till the year 2020 when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

“The entry into force bodes well for the urgent, accelerated implementation of climate action that is now needed to realise a better, more secure world and to support also the realisation of the sustainable development goals,” Espinosa said.