The world’s first comprehensive treaty to address global warming will come into force in early November after receiving enough support from countries to become international law.
Late on Wednesday UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa revealed that a total of 72 countries accounting for nearly 57% of greenhouse gas emissions had formally joined the pact, which aims to limit temperature rises to well below 2C above pre industrial levels.
The deal required backing from 55 countries covering 55% of emissions to make it international law, and under terms of the agreement it will enter into force in 30 days, just ahead of the 2016 UN climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco.
— Patricia Espinosa C. (@PEspinosaC) October 5, 2016
With the European Union having approved the bloc’s ratification on Tuesday, Climate Home understands the Paris deal was triggered by the six member states who had already completed their domestic process of approval: France, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, Austria and Portugal.
“The speed with which the international community worked to bring the Paris Agreement into force demonstrates unprecedented political momentum for climate action and bodes well for us moving forward,” said Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives environment minister.
“But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. We urge all countries to ratify as soon as possible so we can make the Paris Agreement truly universal-even as we turn our attention to implementation in earnest. It is no exaggeration to say we are in a race against time.”
Two other UN-brokered deals to tackle climate change are expected to be agreed in the coming weeks.
Talks in Montreal to ensure carbon neutral growth from the aviation sector are into their second week, with over 60 countries including the US, China, EU-28, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates having signalled their enthusiasm for a deal.
Negotiations under the Montreal Protocol will also start in Kigali next week aimed at cutting the use of potent warming gases used as coolants, which left untouched could tip temperatures up 0.5C.
The announcement came moments before the UN revealed Portugal’s Antonio Guterres is the choice of the Security Council to replace Ban Ki-moon as secretary general when his term ends in December.
In his mission statement ahead of the selection process Guterres said the Paris Agreement represented a “unique opportunity” to be seized by all governments.
“Achieving these important goals has direct implications for peace and the realization of human needs and fundamental rights. For many it means survival,” he wrote.