Paris climate deal approval on course, say analysts

Brexit unlikely to slow momentum towards global climate deal coming into force, with EU left to tackle complex negotiations with UK

The US and India agreed to fast-track approval of the Paris agreement at a meeting between Obama and Modi earlier this year (Pic: White House/Flickr)


The Paris climate deal is edging ever closer to coming into force say analysts, despite the UK’s Brexit vote last week plunging EU plans to ratify the deal into chaos.

Under a scenario published by Climate Analytics, a global network of policy specialists, 50 countries covering 53.28% of global emissions are likely to sign off the UN pact by the end of 2016.

The figure excludes all European countries bar Norway and Switzerland, which are not part of the EU and thus do not have to wait for all member states to gain domestic approval before joining the agreement.

“The number of ratifications is currently quite low but we expect there will be quite a few around a special UN event at the General Assembly,” said Bill Hare from Climate Analytics.

The 2015 agreement stipulates it will only come into force when 55 countries covering 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions formally signal their support with the UN.

(Source: Climate Analytics)

(Source: Climate Analytics)

So far, 18 countries including Barbados, Fiji, Grenada, Norway and Seychelles have officially joined. The US and China – representing more than 40% of global emissions – have signalled their intention to follow in the autumn.

Norway became the first developed country to ratify the Paris deal on 20 June. France and Hungary have gained approval from lawmakers but cannot move without the other EU member states.

Meanwhile the UK will have to develop its own climate plan and ratify the agreement separately, which is unlikely to happen before a new prime minister is appointed in October.

Building pressure

Maldives environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim told Climate Home he was confident the global deal to limit warming to well below 2C above pre industrial levels would come into force by 2017.

Scientists say this year is on course to be the hottest on record, driven in part by an El Nino weather event and record levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“The latest ratifications are not only another indication of how seriously the international community takes the Paris Agreement, but brings us another step closer to having it take effect,” he said in an email.

“We encourage all countries, large and small, to do the same. The faster we bring the climate agreement into force, the faster we can take the action required.”

All assumptions on the speed of ratification bar Brazil were made based on public statements from governments, said Hare. Brasilia’s plans were shared by internal sources.

A Brazilian government official speaking on background confirmed the country’s aim to ratify in 2016 to Climate Home.

According to the Economic Times, India, which accounts for over 4% of global emissions, is working on a national climate law as part of its plans to join the agreement in 2016.

The paper reports that legislation covering power, transport and agriculture sectors could be passed detailing how the country would cut emissions.

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