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175 Countries Sign Paris Climate Agreement
Apr 25, 2016

As many as 175 countries, including India, China and the US signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the UN headquarters in New York on April 22, to coincide with 'International Mother Earth Day'. UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and some heads of state and government, including French President Francois Hollande were present on that occasion.

Key Points

  • Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement on behalf of India.

  • This was the first day of the signing ceremony of the historic global deal.
  • The agreement aims to take multiple measures to save the world from disastrous consequences of climate change and was adopted by 195 countries in Paris on December 12, 2015.

  • That such a large number of countries signed the agreement in a single day is significant. The previous record for the most countries to sign an international agreement on one day was set in 1982, when 119 countries signed the 'Law of the Sea Convention'.

  • The agreement will be open for signature for one year—till April 21, 2017. However, merely signing the agreement will not make it operational.

  • At least 55 countries that account for an estimated 55 per cent of the total global Greenhouse gas emissions will have to ratify the agreement before it enters into force.

  • Only 15 countries—mostly small island nations—on April 22 submitted their instruments of ratification, indicating a long road ahead before the Paris Agreement becomes operational.

  • France, the first country that signed the agreement, promised to ratify it by this summer, while the biggest polluter, China, announced to do it before the G-20 summit in September in Hangzhou. China's move may encourage other G-20 members, including the US and India, to quickly join the agreement by ratifying it. India has so far not indicated when it would ratify it.

  • Many big countries are likely to wait for the US, as it had not ratified the Kyoto Protocol (the first global agreement to fight the menace of climate change) despite signing it in 1998.

Paris Agreement on Climate Change

  • The Paris Agreement is neither a treaty nor a binding protocol.

  • Under Article 21 of the Agreement, the Paris accord will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) deposit their ‘instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession’ with the depositary at UN headquarters.

  • The Paris deal is the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. It established a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions where 195 countries will work together to put the world on a path to keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.

  • These countries had also agreed to pursue efforts to limit the increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

  • All the countries have, for the first time, committed to put forward successive and ambitious 'nationally determined' climate targets and report on their progress towards them using a rigorous and standardized process of review.

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