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03 Oct 2016 02:10:40

India ratifies Paris Agreement at UN, bringing adoption “tantalisingly close”

India ratifies the Paris Agreement on climate change. The country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin (left), shakes hands with UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson while General Assembly President Peter Thomson looks on
India has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, bringing the treaty's entry into force "tantalisingly" close. UN Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said: “[India] is embarking on a sustainable development pathway. Prime Minister Modi calls it 'development without destruction.'”

India is the 62nd country to deposit a legal instrument of ratification. It chose 2nd October – the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the country's independence movement – to join the climate accord.

The Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2degC, will take effect 30 days after at least 55 countries, responsible for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification. The action by India, which accounts for 4.1% of global emissions, means only a further 3% of global emissions is required to reach the 55% threshold, with over 55 countries already signed up.

UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson said Gandhi would have been delighted by India's ratification, which brought the treaty's entry into force “tantalisingly” close. “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,” Mr Thomson said.

A statement on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warmly congratulated India for ratifying and formally joining the Agreement. “India's leadership builds on the continued strong political momentum from Paris for urgent global action on climate change. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to accelerate their domestic procedures in order to join the agreement as soon as possible this year. Action on climate change is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and creating a more prosperous, equitable and livable future for all people.”

The Paris Agreement was adopted by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the COP21 conference in December 2015. It was signed in New York on 22nd April 2016 by 175 countries. The number of countries ratifying reached 61 during the UN General Assembly's general debate in 26 September 2016, crossing one of the two thresholds required to bring the agreement into force. The world's two largest emitters, China and the USA, had already joined the agreement.

David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, has expressed confidence that the Paris Agreement will take force during 2016, highlighting that at least 14 more countries representing at least 12% of global emissions have committed to ratification.


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