Climate Change

India, 170 other nations sign the Paris Agreement

The signatures are the first step in bringing the Paris Agreement into force

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 22 April 2016
Credit: Flickr
Credit: Flickr Credit: Flickr

India joined 170 other countries in signing the Paris Agreement on Climate change in New York on April 22. The agreement was the result of a consensus by 195 countries during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) after talks were held in Paris in December last year. The high-level signature ceremony was held at the United Nations (UN) headquarters and convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"We are breaking records in this Chamber—and that is good news, but records are also being broken outside; record global temperatures. Record ice loss. Record carbon levels in the atmosphere. We are in a race against time," said Ban Ki-moon during the opening remarks of the ceremony.

The Indian government had publicised its intent to sign the agreement on April 22 through a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture on April 20. According to the statement, the decision on Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar signing the agreement on April 22 in New York was approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India had advocated a strong and durable climate agreement based on the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the agreement addresses all the important concerns and expectations of India,” the statement said.

The agreement was signed by 171 countries, including the United States, breaking the previous record of 119 signatures set during the opening day signing for the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay in 1994.

The signatures are the first step in bringing the Paris Agreement into force. It must be noted that signing the agreement is an intent of ratification, and not ratification itself. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 nations, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, submit their instruments of ratification with the UN Secretary General. Around 15 countries are expected to submit their instruments of ratification on April 22 itself, raising hopes of the pact coming into force much before the 2020 deadline agreed upon during the Paris talks.

One of the main agendas of the agreement is to limit the rise in global mean temperature to under 2 degree Celsius and pursue a tougher 1.5 degree Celsius limit when compared with pre-industrial temperature levels.

The agreement requires countries to set their own national targets beginning in 2020. India, in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), had announced that it aims to achieve around 40 per cent of the installed capacity of cumulative electric power from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030. The INDC also included a pledge to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 through afforestation by 2030. The INDC is estimated to cost up to USD 2.5 trillion (at current prices) by 2030. The country has already introduced a higher cess on coal and has created a National Clean Environment Fund earmarked for clean energy production and clean climate action this year.

During a recent meeting between BASIC leaders in New Delhi, India strongly urged developed nations to stand by their commitments of creating a USD 100 billion per year fund for small island nations and developing countries. 

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