Paris Climate Accord Will Take Effect November 4

October 5 was an historic day, hailed President Obama, as nations responsible for emitting more than 55 percent of world carbon emissions have now signed the Paris climate agreement, the threshold needed for the accord to take effect in 30 days.

2 minute read

October 8, 2016, 5:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Ça c'est Paris

Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / Flickr

"Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Malta - European Union nations which have completed domestic ratification and account for about four percent of emissions - formally signed up on Wednesday," report Alister Doyle and Roberta Rampton for Reuters.

The agreement will take effect less than a year after it was initially approved last December.

By contrast, it took eight years for the previous U.N. climate deal, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, to gain enough backing to take effect. It obliged only rich nations to cut emissions and the United States stayed out of it.

China and the United States, the world's two largest carbon emitters and biggest economies, signed the agreement on Sept. 3. On Oct. 2, "India, the planet’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, formally joined the accord," reported Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis for The Washington Post.

"China represents just over 20 percent of global emissions while the United States accounting for 17.9 percent, Russia 7.5 percent and India 4.1 percent," notes an earlier Reuters article.

As of Oct. 6, Signatories: 191. Parties: 74 parties of the 191 signatories have ratified or approved the agreement according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change tracker.

President Obama called Wednesday a "turning point for our planet" in this short video.

Doyle reports on Oct. 3 that the real test will be enforcement.

"The key question will be implementing the agreement. There's no legal enforcement of pledges," said Robert Watson, a British-American scientist and former head of the U.N.'s panel of climate experts.

Under the Paris Agreement, almost 200 states have set their own national targets for emissions, with five-yearly national reviews and promises to set ever tougher goals.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit a rise in world temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above those in pre-industrial times. The United Nations says current pledges are too weak to reach that goal.

On Sept. 29, Doyle reported that scientists warned that "[g]lobal warming is on track to breach a 2 degrees Celsius threshold by 2050 unless governments at least double their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions."

"The Agreement will now enter into force in time for the Climate Conference (COP 22) in [Marrakesh] Morocco in November, where countries will convene the first Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement," according to the UN News Centre.

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