EU gives green light to ratifying Paris climate deal

EU gives green light to ratifying Paris climate deal

EU ministers have agreed to ratify the landmark Paris climate agreement at an extraordinary summit in Brussels on Friday, all but guaranteeing that it will pass a legal threshold to take effect next week and sparing the bloc’s blushes in the process.

The European Parliament is expected to rubber stamp the decision in Strasbourg next Tuesday, allowing the EU to sign off on it as soon as the following day.

The EU’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today, the EU’s member states decided to make history together and bring closer the entry into force of the first ever universally binding climate change agreement. We must and we can hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies.

“This is not a dream. This is a reality and it is within our reach. Today we are closer to it.”

The Paris pact to limit global warming to “well below 2C” will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries, accounting for 55% of the planet’s emissions hand their ratification papers to the offices of Ban Ki-Moon in New York.

India is expected to ratify the deal over the weekend, with Canada next week also likely to join the 61 countries that have so far signed up. The EU’s added weight should then tip the treaty into effect.

The EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, said that Europe’s reputation had been “on the line” in the run up to today’s meeting. “We are reaching a critical period for decisive climate action,” he said, “and when the going gets tough, Europe gets going.”

With global CO2 concentrations permanently passing the 400ppm barrier this week and some climate scientists predicting that the Paris deal’s preferred threshold of keeping temperature rises to 1.5C could be broken as soon as 2020, calls for a greater urgency in Brussels have increased of late.

“We cannot miss this opportunity,” Gianni La Via, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the file, told the Guardian. “A timely EU ratification decision would send a strong signal and highlight the leadership of the EU and its member states.”

The EU was a core member of the “coalition for high ambition” in Paris which pushed a deal through. Ratifying it now will at least allow the bloc speaking and voting rights at a key COP22 summit on its implementation at Marrakesh in November.

Date: September 2016

Source: The Guardian

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