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Paris climate deal to enter into force next month

With the climate treaty set to become international law on November 4, what are commentators from around the world saying?

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(Image by UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The Paris Climate Change Agreement will become international law on November 4. To enter into force, the climate treaty required ratification from 55 Parties accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Accounting for more than 58% of global emissions, 74 countries have now ratified the agreement, according to the Climate Analytics
ratification tracker. This makes it one of the fastest multilateral agreements ever to enter into force.

“This is a truly historic moment for people everywhere,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on October 5, adding it was a "powerful confirmation of the importance nations attach to combating climate change and realising the multitude of opportunities inherent in the Paris Agreement.”

The deal could prove a “turning point”,
said US President Barack Obama. “Today is a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations,” he said. “This gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we got. With optimism and faith and hope, we are proving it is possible.” Members of the European Parliament, however, expressed regret that nations' commitments, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) did not “bring the world even close to the two degree target” and stressed the “urgent and critically important” need for countries to raise their emission reduction commitments.

chinadialogue will be following the story as negotiations continue. In the meantime, here’s a brief round-up of opinion from around the world:

Earlier this week at chinadialogue, India Climate Dialogue’s Joydeep Gupta pointed out how India’s ratification brought the deal close to the finish line, adding that the country's green NGOs supported the move.

Sandeep Chachra, executive director of ActionAid India, said, “This year India and its citizens have been on the front line of climate change. This effort to fast-track the entry into force of the Paris Agreement is a clear indication that India both wants and needs urgent action at home, and internationally.”

“India now has a vital role to play in ensuring that its hard-won inclusion of climate justice in the agreement becomes a key outcome and not just an empty phrase. In the next round of UN talks in Morocco this November, it must make sure that the next steps that will be negotiated really do reflect fairness and equitable action for all.”

At the Huffington Post, Barbara Finamore pointed to China’s crucial role in the agreement.

“China played a key role in getting the Paris Agreement over the finish line. The series of bilateral climate agreements between China and the U.S. – the world’s two largest GHG emitters – set the stage for the Paris negotiations, and also contributed to the extraordinary speed with which the agreement will enter into force.  In addition, China and the U.S. are working together to push for an ambitious global phase-down of the potent heat-trapping chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol. China is also playing an active role in negotiations on an agreement to work towards “carbon neutral growth” in aviation emissions post-2020.”

The Climate Group noted the importance of progressive businesses in its interview with France’s climate envoy Laurence Tubiana.

"Progressive businesses" are crucial in the fight against climate change because they can "give governments the confidence they can go forward, that there are solutions and that a sound investment plan will be well received by the business community," said Laurence Tubiana, the special representative for COP21, Government of France, in an exclusive Climate TV interview.

One of the main architects of the Paris Agreement, Tubiana pointed to the importance of COP22 in Marrakesh, where we must "start the process […] that a number of countries commit to deliver their mid-century strategies by 2018, together with businesses, together with local authorities."

At the Financial Times, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Amal-Lee Amin praised Latin American countries’ role in the process and said NDCs can “help rewire development plans to better respond to the demands of citizens and delivering an inclusive growth agenda”.

“Yet ratification is only an initial step towards implementation. Fortunately, the region has made progress on designing the policies and institutions to implement the agreement. Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica were among the first developing countries to put forward voluntary emission reduction pledges starting in 2008.”

In the UK, however, a campaigner from NGO Friends of the Earth expressed concern in The Independent at a lack of focus from the government.

Asad Rehman said: “Britain will ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change. Great news." 

“But that’s just the start of the action we need. Which is why Theresa May’s cursory mention of climate change in her conference speech is so worrying." 

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