20/04/2016
Credits: CC Gerald Simmons @Flickr.com

A record number of countries have said they intend to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change at a high-level ceremony at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, 22 April 2016, which is Earth Day.
“The number of countries that have indicated their intentions to attend and sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April is now up to 155″, said UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Farhan Haq, in a press conference on Friday.
The event will be attended by President Francois Hollande of France, the President of COP21, France’s Segolene Royal, and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres.

Approval of the Paris Agreement
According to art. 21 of the Paris Agreement, it needs to be ratified by at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to come into force. The total of GHG emissions refers to “the most up-to-date amount communicated on or before the date of adoption” and provided by UNFCCC in the final report of COP21.

The US and China committed to join the agreement this year but that still leaves a gap of more than 15% of global emissions (see the Paris Agreement Tracker realized by the World Resources Institute and tap countries on the interactive map to forecast your own path to bring the Paris Agreement into force). 
US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early. The accelerated timeline in fact would have the advantage to lock a future US President into the deal for four years, according to many experts.

Some countries, including India and Japan, require their parliaments to approve the Paris agreement – a process which could take time -,  while the European Union will need agreement from its 28 member states before it can join the agreement, which makes it highly unlikely to be in a position to join early on.
“The assumption is that you have to do this without the EU to get to that 55% hurdle, if you want to see that in the next year or so,” said to The Guardian Alden Meyer, strategy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

An information note on the entry into force of the Paris Agreement is available here.

See the provisional list of Parties that have indicated their intentions to sign the Paris Agreement as well as countries that will deposit their instruments of acceptance on the same day.

The ceremony
Events will start at 8.30 am with an opening ceremony at the UN General Assembly Hall. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, will give opening remarks along with UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and the President of France, Francois Hollande.
The signing ceremony will take place from 10 am to 1 pm when the Paris Agreement will be officially signed by over hundred representatives of Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change who have already confirmed their presence. In parallel to the signature, country representatives will give national statements.
More information about the events planned are available here.