France and the UN are pressing governments to ratify the climate change agreement
France’s environment minister, who was in charge of global climate negotiations, said Wednesday that she and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be pressing governments to speedily ratify the historic climate change agreement reached in December.
Segolene Royal told reporters after meeting the U.N. chief that they want the agreement ratified by the time the parties to global climate talks that led to the Paris agreement hold their next meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco from Nov. 7-18.
She said she will write again to all world leaders to get their timetables for ratification and will return to Africa to talk to heads of state and government to push for speedy action.
The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined it.
To spur action, Ban said Tuesday that he is inviting countries to deposit their ratifications on Sept. 21 during the annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly.
He told a high-level meeting promoting the new U.N. goals to tackle poverty and inequality and preserve the environment that 178 countries have signed the agreement and 19 have deposited their ratifications. But he said the 19 countries account for less than one percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The secretary-general encouraged at least 40 countries who committed to ratify the agreement by the end of the year – including major emitters like the United States, China, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico and Argentina – to do it sooner to accelerate its entry into force and progress on addressing climate change.
“We cannot wait any longer,” Royal said. “It’s time for actions. This year will be the hottest in history. Last year was the hottest in history and next year … will be the hottest.”
Under the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The targets are not legally binding, but countries must update them every five years.
Already, states face pressure to do more. Scientific analyses show the initial set of targets that countries pledged before Paris don’t match the agreement’s long-term goal to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. Global average temperatures have already climbed by almost 1 degree Celsius.