At NY event Paris deal crosses the first threshold for entry into force

At the high level event in New York on Wednesday (Sept. 21), convened and strongly wanted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, 31 countries representing around 7 percent of global emissions have fully joined the Paris Agreement by depositing their instruments of ratification. Namely, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Kiribati, Mongolia, Namibia, Niger, Panama, Sri Lanka, Guinea, Antigua and Barbuda, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Vanuatu, Bangladesh, Belarus, Dominica, Iceland, Madagascar, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Swaziland, Brunei Darussalam, Ghana, Mexico, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Tonga and Senegal.

Adding their contributions to the ratifications received in the past weeks and months (including the substantial move by US and China jointly announcing their ratification at the G20 meeting in Hangzhou in early September), the UNFCCC confirmed that a total of 60 countries accounting for almost 48 percent of the global total have joined the deal.

The Paris agreement, sealed last December at COP21, needs to be ratified by 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions, in order to come into effect. The first threshold was thus crossed on Wednesday and the percentage threshold needs around 7 percent more to be covered.

“This momentum is remarkable,” Mr. Ban said. “It can sometimes take years or even decades for a treaty to enter into force. It is just nine months since the Paris climate conference. This is testament to the urgency of the crisis we all face.”

According to UN official release, a further 14 countries, representing 12.58 percent of emissions, committed to joining the agreement in 2016, virtually assuring that it will enter into force this year.

An earlier-than-expected entry into force will trigger a variety of procedural activities (such as the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, or CMA1) and would create unexpected conditions to be addressed. “The adoption, signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement are wonderful news but by no means the end”, the newly appointed UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa stressed in her official statement. “Here many issues need to be progressed, ranging from the development of a rule book to operationalize the agreement up to building confidence among developing countries that the $100 billion pledged to them by developed nations is truly building”.

The recently announced EU plan to fast track the ratification of the climate deal is under the spotlight. With its 12 percent of emissions, the EU may well tip the balance for an early entry into force, possibly by the upcoming COP22 in Marrakesh. Among the major emitters who have not yet ratified the deal there are also Russia (7.53 percent) and India (4.1 percent).

Explore our infographic explaining the double threshold required for the Paris Agreement’s entry into force and showing the weight of each country in reaching it.


(Image: High-level event at the UN General Assembly in New York, 21 September 2016. Photo credit: UNFCCC/Twitter)