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Paris Climate Agreement Expected to Go Into Force By Year’s End

ByTim De ChantNOVA NextNOVA Next

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Another 31 countries formally submitted their plans to reduce climate change emissions, increasing the likelihood that the Paris Agreement struck last year will go into force before the end of 2016.

To become binding, the Paris Agreement requires signatures from 55 countries representing 55% of carbon emissions. Currently, 60 countries representing 47.76% of emissions have ratified the accord. The quick pace of adoption has taken many experts by surprise.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke yesterday at the United Nations about the imminent ratification of the Paris Agreement.

Here’s Oliver Milman, reporting for The Guardian:

“The global community is rallying behind swift and ambitious action to combat climate change,” said Paula Caballero, global director of the World Resources Institute’s climate program.

“The fact that the Paris agreement will likely enter into force this year took everyone by surprise. This rapid pace reflects a spirit of cooperation rarely seen on a global scale.”

The landmark deal was reached on December 12, 2015, and when effective, it will require all 187 signatories to formally submit their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. After 2025, countries must revise their plans to further ratchet down their emissions. There are, however, no mechanisms in place to keep countries to their word, only peer pressure from the international community.

The U.S. submitted its plan last year, and it anticipates the country trimming emissions by 26–28% below 2005 levels. Already, energy-related CO 2 emissions are 12% below 2005 levels .

While most experts I’ve spoken to are skeptical that we’ll be able to bring emissions low enough quickly enough to forestall dangerous warming, there are some hopeful trends. For example, as the cost of new solar and wind power drops, installations are booming—last year, investment in renewables outstripped fossil fuels by two-to-one .

Photo credit: U.S. Department of State