The climate change treaty negotiated in Paris last year will enter into force one month after ratification by the EU

Paris climate change treaty to enter into force as EU approves ratification

Image credit: Reuters

EU ministers have agreed to ratify the Paris climate change treaty negotiated last year in a move that will bring the deal into force much earlier than 2020, as originally planned.

The treaty commits countries to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero this century in order to prevent average temperatures from rising beyond 2°C, compared with pre-industrial times. It must be ratified by at least 55 countries accounting for 55 per cent of the world's emissions for it to come into force. 

While 61 countries have already ratified the agreement, their combined contribution to global emissions is only 48 per cent. The decision of the EU’s environment council to go ahead with the ratification on behalf of the bloc’s 28 member states, including the UK, will thus increase the share of emissions of the signatories by 12 per cent. 

It is expected that EU will ratify the deal in early October. The treaty will enter into force 30 days after that, most likely before the countries meet in Morocco this November for the next round of annual climate talks.  

"I am happy to see that today the member states decided to make history together and bring closer the entry into force of the first ever universally binding climate change agreement," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. 

"We must and we can hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies." 

EU countries will also each ratify the deal individually, with the UK expected to do so before the end of the year. UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry Nick Hurd said the UK will finalise its domestic approval process by the end of the year.  

"The Paris climate agreement is an ambitious and landmark deal," Hurd said. "I welcome today's agreement, pushing forward EU ratification of he Paris climate change agreement." 

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