Press release

A historic day as Paris Climate Agreement crosses a critical threshold

October 3, 2016

The global commitment to slowing the pace of climate change culminated today with the European Parliament approving the ratification of the Paris climate agreement thereby enabling its entry into force this week.

The historic agreement, adopted by 185 nations in the French capital last December, required ratification by 55 countries contributing to at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse emissions before coming into effect. With the European Union expected to deposit its ratification instruments on Friday, those thresholds will be crossed.

“Ratification of the Paris agreement has moved through national capitals with remarkable speed,” said Frédéric Gagnon-Lebrun, IISD’s program leader on climate change mitigation. “It’s a striking departure from past practice in international climate change negotiations and demonstrates the significant buy-in from countries that continues to build following the adoption of the agreement last December.”

“The environment has not eclipsed the political primacy of jobs and the economy. What’s changed, however, is the mainstream understanding that these priorities are incompatible with catastrophic climate change,” said Gagnon-Lebrun.

Countries will turn to the task of developing the rulebook that will guide the implementation of the agreement when they gather for the UNFCCC’s Twenty-second Conference of the Parties (COP-22) in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7-18 November. “With the Paris Agreement now into force, the Marrakesh conference will go down in history as the first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement,” said Gagnon-Lebrun.

"The Paris Agreement is an important victory towards preventing the worst effects of climate change," said Anne Hammill, director of IISD's resilience program. "But in order to prepare for the climate change impacts that our greenhouse gas emissions to date will cause, we hope all countries take urgent action on the Paris agreement's call to engage in adaptation planning and implementation."

In parallel, all countries now need to diligently start the hard work of implementing the climate change plans presented ahead of COP-21 in Paris, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, as well as mechanisms to report back to the international community on progress made.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

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