Climate Change: Huge leap forward for Paris Agreement on 21st Sept 1


U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/How Hwee Young/Pool

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement ceremony ahead of the G20 Summit at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/How Hwee Young/Pool

As you are no doubt aware when it comes to addressing climate change the Paris agreement is not a done deal.

Currently, there are 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement.  Of these, only 27 States have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 39.08 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Signing is simply ink on paper and can be happily ignored. Ratification is something quite different, it means that the nation ratifying is now legally committed to the agreement via its own internal legal framework and so will adhere to it.

27 is not enough.

For the Paris agreement to be actually effective and truly meaningful in any way then we need 55 nations to ratify it.

Next week, on 21st September at a United Nations event it is expected that this will change. The following has gone out on Reuters …

At least 20 countries have indicated they will join the Paris climate change agreement at a United Nations event on Sept. 21, adding to the 27 that have already done so and raising hopes the deal will enter into force by the end of 2016, U.N. officials said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited states to deposit their instruments of ratification or approval of the Paris deal at the one-hour event on Wednesday morning. 

Leaders whose countries are not yet ready to join but plan to do so this year have been invited to contribute videos expressing their commitment, said Selwin Hart, director of the U.N. chief’s climate change support team.

“When we start to look at the countries that are joining the… agreement and the countries that are going to commit to join before the end of the year, we are absolutely certain that we will have the Paris Agreement on climate change entering into force by the end of 2016,” said David Nabarro, Ban Ki-moon’s special advisor on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This is exciting news, it really is going to happen and while it is not a solution, it sets us on a course to actually address the issue.

So who is expected to ratify next week?

Amongst the anticipated 20 are Mexico and Brazil. Together they account for 10-12% of the total greenhouse gases, so this is a big deal and a huge step forward.

The next U.N. climate conference will take place in Morocco during November. It would be fantastic if we have reached full ratification by then, but at this point it is not yet clear if we will. However, Wednesday 21st next week will be a huge leap forward.

One big challenge will be the EU. For the EU to ratify, all 28 member states (or is that 27) will need to deposit their ratification documents with the United Nations simultaneously, and so far only three states – France, Hungary and Austria – have ratified the agreement. Sorting that complexity out was expected to take years, but it is now thought that they might achieve it this year.

Links

To track who has ratified and where things stand, you can check out the UN website here that has all the details.

In summary, this is where we stand right now (and remember it will change next week).

paris_agreement_-_status_of_ratification

Amongst the 27 nations that have ratified are the two biggest producers of greenhouse gases, China and the US. For a precise list of exactly who the 27 are, you can go here.

Dull News?

For some this might sound like dull news and other topics such as Trump said X or Hilary said Y is far more exciting. I would however counter-argue that dealing with Climate Change is perhaps the most important issue that our civilisation and our very existence as a species on this planet faces today.

Then again a counter argument to that last point is that the greatest threat to the viability of the Paris Agreement would be Trump in the White House …

Trump—who has called global warming a Chinese hoax—pledged to “cancel the Paris climate agreement” and scrap the various measures announced by President Obama to ensure US compliance with its provisions. Echoing the views of his Brexit counterparts, he complained that “this agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use on our land, in our country. No way.” He also vowed to revive construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (which would bring carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast), to reverse any climate-friendly Obama administration acts, and to promote the coal industry. “Regulations that shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and block the construction of new ones—how stupid is that?” he said, mockingly.


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