More Than 165 Countries Set To Sign Paris Agreement

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On Friday, more than 165 countries are set to sign the landmark Paris Agreement that was reached in December. The signing will take place at the United Nations in New York. Presidents and Prime Ministers from about 60 countries, and top officials from more than 100 countries will gather in New York to sign the deal that takes a key step towards entering into force several years before schedule.

The deal could enter into force this year itself

The Paris Agreement, also known as COP 21, is the first international accord that outlines steps for nations to combat global warming and fix some of its damage. Signing the agreement will signal the countries’ readiness to start implementing it to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Countries that do not sign the deal have a year to do so. The agreement was supposed to enter into force in 2020. But experts now believe it could happen this year itself.

Many countries still need a parliamentary vote to approve the accord. The Paris Agreement will enter into force once 55 countries collectively accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions formally join it. Success or failure of the agreement will largely depend on the United States and China, two of the world’s largest polluters that together account for close to 40% of global emissions.

EU to be among first to sign the Paris Agreement

Both countries have said they intend to join this year. Another top polluter, the 28-nation European Union, said it wants “to be in the first wave of ratifying countries.” The United Nations said at least 13 countries, mostly small island nations, will deposit their instruments of ratification on Friday. Countries that are unlikely to sign the deal on Friday include Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iraq and Kazakhstan, according to the World Resources Institute.

Scientists say nations need to do more than what they have pledged before the Paris accord to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The long-term goal is to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius. According to the Climate Interactive research group, the pledges made by countries would put the world on track for 3.5 degrees Celsius warming by 2100.

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