United States and China have announced that they would formally ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, a crucial step towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement – hailed by President Obama as ‘the moment we decided to save our planet’ – came just before the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, after weeks of negotiations between the two countries.
Together, the two nations create nearly 38% of the world’s emissions. So far, 180 countries have signed the agreement, while 26 have ratified it, accounting for a total of 39.06% of the world’s emissions. The 26 nations that had already ratified the agreement accounted for just over 1% of global emissions.
The pressure is now on for the UK, who has yet to ratify the Paris deal. A spokesman for the Prime Minister stated that the government would ratify as soon as possible but gave no specific date.
Paris Climate Agreement:
The Paris deal is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement. It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries, which between them produce 55% of global carbon emissions. The key points of the agreement are as follows:
- To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C,
- To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century,
- To review progress every five years,
- $100bn a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future, and
- Once the deal comes into force, countries that have ratified it have to wait for a minimum of three years before they exit.