India Signed Onto Paris Climate Deal.  It is Now - Almost - a Legally Binding Document

Posted by Amy Guinan

Oct 5, 2016 1:36:30 PM

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Getting to 55%

Two days ago, on Oct 2nd, India ratified the Paris Climate deal.  By signing on, India has brought  the agreement close to being truly legally binding.

In order to put the Paris Climate Deal into legal effect, 55 nations - covering at least 55 percent of global emissions - need to formally ratify the treaty. 

India represents the 62nd nation to sign on and all signers collectively represent 51.89 percent of global emissions, according to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The ratification came on the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Indian independence leader better known as Mahatma Gandhi.

The Paris deal aims to limit average temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement also calls for countries to do their best to try to limit that rise to 1.5 degrees.  Major emitters such as the United States, China and Brazil have led the way in joining the agreement, as have dozens of smaller countries. 

A Green Legacy

Li Shuo, a climate adviser with Greenpeace, has said both China and the United States were determined to put the treaty into force as soon as possible in order to avoid the risk that any new Republican administration would reject it.

President Obama is showing his commitment to the Paris Climate Deal as a final push to secure a green legacy for his presidency (which looks like it might just pass here in the 11th hour of his presidential term.)

“Just as I believe the Paris agreement will ultimately prove to be a turning point for our planet, I believe that history will judge (our) efforts as pivotal,” said President Obama.

The largest remaining emitters hat have yet to formally join the agreement include Russia (7.5 percent of emissions), Japan (3.79 percent), Canada (1.95 percent), South Korea (1.85 percent), Mexico (1.7 percent), Indonesia (1.49 percent), South Africa (1.46 percent) and Australia (1.46 percent).

But the European Union, with 28 member nations that collectively account for 12.1 percent of the globe’s emissions, could officially make its move as soon next week. E.U. ministers have “approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union,” according to a statement Friday. If the European Parliament approves this action, the world will cross the required 55 percent threshold.

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