With India formally submitting their instrument of ratification, and the EU Parliament approving plans to fast-track the groups ratification as a bloc, the Paris Climate Agreement looks set to come into effect next month.
The Paris Agreement will officially come into force 30 days after 55 counties responsible for 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have all ratified. Up until this weekend, 61 countries, representing just shy of 48% of the world’s emissions had done so.
India formally ratified on Sunday, on the anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Ghandi, and by doing so they have pushed the portion of emissions accounted for up to 51.91%.
The EU has been making fast progress over the past couple of weeks towards ratifying as a bloc, rather than waiting for each individual member state to do so independently. Fast-tracking ratification in this way will mean that the 55% threshold is easily exceeded, as the EU as a whole is responsible for some 12% of global emissions.
Last week, the decision to fast track ratification was passed by the EU’s environment ministers and, as of Tuesday morning, it has been approved officially by the European Parliament. The decision was passed with 610 votes in favour, 38 against and 31 abstentions.
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker issued a statement saying: “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union. Today we continue to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”
The group’s Commissioner for Climate Action, Miguel Arias Canete offered an equally emphatic statement, saying: “Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground. And here Europe is ahead of the curve. We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernise our economy. The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change.”
The next step now is for the EU’s Council of Ministers to formally take the decision on board, which is set to happen at a meeting on Wednesday. Following this, the instruments of ratification are set to be formally delivered to the UN on Friday. This would mean that the Agreement should come into force in early November, ahead of the next Conference of Parties meeting in Marrakech.
Once the Agreement comes into force, all countries involved will be bound to terms forcing them to do everything in their power to keep global warming down to below 2C, and to provide $100 billion worth of funding to aid the efforts of developing countries.
The terms of the Agreement, and the actions that each country must pursue, will be reviewed every five years.