The European Union has formally joined the Paris Agreement, which has now surpassed an emissions threshold needed to make the climate deal official.
With the European Union’s voting to join the U.S., China, India and other nations in ratifying the agreement, nations representing more than 55% of the world’s global warming pollution have now signed on – crossing the minimum threshold for the agreement to enter force, according to Environment America.
The Sierra Club says the agreement crossed a 55-country threshold in September at a United Nations event and will now enter force in 30 days, just ahead of the upcoming climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco.
At last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, more than 190 countries came together to adopt the Paris Agreement, what the White House called “the most ambitious climate change agreement in history.” Specifically, the agreement sets a goal of keeping a global warming increase well below 2 degrees C and pursues efforts to limit the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees C. On Earth Day earlier this year, leaders from roughly 170 countries met in New York City to formally sign the deal.
“Signed, sealed, and delivered. After years of tireless dedication and work toward an international climate deal, the Paris Agreement has finally jumped off the page and into reality,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, in a statement.
“This step forward means that the Paris Agreement will enter into force this year, and that’s not a moment too soon. In Paris, fossil fuels received their expiration date, and today’s announcement marks a global turning point that unites the world to finally take action to tackle the climate crisis while unquestionably putting us on a path toward a modern clean energy economy,” he continued.
Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon went to Strasbourg, France, to urge the European Parliament to sign on to the deal.
“In the name of humanity and for the sake of future generations, I encourage you to support the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement,” he said. “At a time of record heat, let us take historic action. At a moment of divisions on many other challenges, let us show we are united on the biggest one of all.
“This is our chance to set us on course towards a safer, more sustainable and more just future for all on a healthy planet. Let us seize the moment and be true to the values and aims of our organizations.”
In total, 74 countries have joined or committed to join the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016 – accounting for 60.34% of global emissions, according to the Sierra Club.
Countries that have announced their commitment to joining the agreement by the end of the year include Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan and the Republic of Korea.
The Sierra Club notes that once the agreement enters into force, it will take at least four years for any one country to officially leave.
Anna Aurilio, global warming solutions program director for Environment America, added in a statement, “Here in the United States, we must redouble our efforts to reduce – and eventually eliminate – global warming pollution. President Obama has already put America on track to slash emissions from vehicles and power plants, but we can and must do much more.
“We have the tools to shift away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels towards a 100 percent renewable energy future powered by solar, wind and energy efficiency. Tapping this immense potential, President Obama should establish a goal for the United States to achieve net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. Setting this ambitious goal will not only seal the president’s legacy as an historic world leader, but also guide our nation to avert climate disaster in the coming decades,” Aurilio said.
The countries that have joined the Paris Agreement to date are Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, China, Cook Islands, Dominica, the European Union, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, India, Kiribati, Laos, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niger, North Korea, Norway, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, The Bahamas, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the U.S., and Vanuatu.