BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 04 October '16

Paris Agreement on climate change is now ‘tantalisingly’ close

India became the 62nd country to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sunday, bringing the treaty’s entry into force ‘tantalisingly’ close.

Day of Non-Violence

India chose the International Day of Non-Violence – and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the country’s independence movement and pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence – as an opportunity to join the climate accord.

‘The country is embarking on a sustainable development pathway. Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi calls it ‘development without destruction… There is no better way to commemorate the great Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy of peace for people and planet.’

JAN ELIASSON
UN Deputy Secretary-General

Entry into force

The Agreement, which calls on countries to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, will take effect only after at least 55 countries, responsible for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification.

India accounts for 4.1% of the emissions, so the Agreement only needs slightly more than 3% to reach the ’55%’ threshold. The ’55 countries’ requirement has already been met.

‘That this step, so full of hope and commitment, occurred on the anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi is especially fitting, given the Mahatma’s enduring ethical messages of humanism, environmentalism and pacifism.’

PETER THOMSON
UN General Assembly President

UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson said Gandhi would have been delighted to learn of India’s ratification, which he said brought the treaty’s entry into force ‘tantalisingly’ close.

Progress to date

Adopted in Paris by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a conference known as COP21 last December, the Agreement was signed in New York on 22 April this year by 175 countries.

During the UN General Assembly’s general debate, which ended 26 September, the number of countries that deposited their instruments of ratification reached 61, crossing one of the two thresholds required to bring it into force. The world’s two largest emitters, China and the United States, had already joined the Agreement.

At a briefing three days ago, David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, expressed confidence that the Paris Agreement will enter into force at some point this year, highlighting that besides India, at least 14 other countries, representing at least 12% of global emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact.

Click here to track the progress of countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement.