French senate formally approves Paris climate deal

The first G7 and G20 member to ratify the UN pact, France needs support from other EU member states to make its contribution count

Environment minister Segolene Royal addresses the French senate (Screenshot/Senat video)


France’s senate has unanimously backed a law on Wednesday to ratify the Paris climate change agreement.

Subject to President Francois Hollande’s seal of approval, expected within two weeks, France will become the first G7 and G20 member to endorse the pact.

Official ratification at the UN will have to wait. France’s contribution will only count when the EU completes the formalities for the 28-strong bloc.

Campaigners welcomed the news, urging other countries to follow swiftly.

“France is determined to stave off the worst impacts of global climate change, such as the extreme flooding it suffered last week,” said Liz Gallagher, senior associate at E3G.

“As the first industrialised nation to ratify the historic climate change agreement forged in Paris, France is cementing its legacy as an international climate leader.

“Now it’s time for other big emitters to follow suit and give the Paris agreement the full force of international law.”

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For the deal to take effect, 55 countries accounting for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions need to submit ratification documents to the UN.

Hungary is the only other EU country to give parliamentary approval so far.

While a number of governments have indicated plans to ratify this year, others want to wait until Europe’s climate goal has been split into national targets.

Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists said France’s move sent a “powerful signal” for its neighbours to join the US and China in sealing the deal.

That is needed to build confidence in the low carbon transition around the world, added Christian Aid’s Mohamed Adow.


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