Climate Change

Around 155 countries set to sign the Paris Agreement in New York

The new climate change agreement was adopted in Paris on December 12 last year

By Vijeta Rattani
Published: Tuesday 19 April 2016

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A record number of 155 countries have declared their intent to sign the Paris Agreement in a high-level signing ceremony to be held in New York on April 22. If all of these countries sign on Friday, the Paris Agreement would set a new record as the international agreement to be signed by the maximum number of countries on the opening day.

The current record is held by the Law of the Sea which saw 119 countries sign the agreement in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on the opening day in 1982.

The Paris Agreement was adopted on December 12 last year when parties came to a common understanding on the design and nature of the new agreement to address climate change, replacing the Kyoto Protocol. April 22 is the date of opening for signing of the original text of the Paris Agreement. Countries will have the choice, however, to sign the Paris Agreement till April 21, 2017.

Mere signing of the Paris Agreement will not lead to it taking effect. For its entry into force, the agreement needs to be ratified by 55 states representing 55 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions globally. “Ratification” is an act by which a state signifies that an agreement is legally binding by the terms of a particular treaty. To ratify a treaty, the state first signs it and then fulfils its own national legislative requirements. Ratification is, thus, different from signing which provides for preliminary endorsement of the agreement, whereby countries express their commitment to put into action the processes leading to the ratification of the legal agreement.

Once ratification is achieved by the minimum threshold, the Paris Agreement would enter into force by 2020.

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