Historic climate pact kicks in
A WORLDWIDE pact to battle global warming entered into force on November 4, just a week before nations reassemble to discuss how to make good on their promises to cut planet-warming greenhouse gases.
Dubbed the Paris Agreement, it is the first-ever deal binding all the world’s nations, rich and poor, to a commitment to cap global warming caused mainly by the burning of coal, oil and gas.
“Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster,” UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa and Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said.
“It is also a moment to look ahead with sober assessment and renewed will over the task ahead,” added Mr Mezouar who will preside over the UN meeting opening in Marrakesh today.
This meant drastically and urgently cutting emissions, which requires political commitment and considerable financial investment.
The urgency was brought home by a UN report which warned that emissions trends were steering the world toward climate “tragedy”.
By 2030, said the UN Environment Program, annual emissions will be 12 to 14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) higher than the desired level of 42 billion tonnes.
The 2014 level was about 52.7 billion tonnes. This year is on track to be the hottest on record, and carbon dioxide levels passed an ominous milestone in 2015.
The agreement was endorsed in the French capital last December, after years of complex and divisive negotiations, but the ratification was reached with record speed.
At least 55 parties to the UN’s climate convention (UNFCCC), responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, had to ratify it for it to take effect.
It has been ratified by 97 of the 197 UNFCCC parties, representing 67.5pc of emissions, according to France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal, outgoing president of the UN talks. –