G20: key step forward as US and China agree to ratify Paris climate deal

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Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement on the eve of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, on September 4-5, 2016.
Ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement by China and the United States – the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases – has brought its rapid entry into force a big step closer.
“I would like today to thank China and the United States for ratifying this landmark agreement – an agreement on which rests the opportunity for a sustainable future for every nation and every person,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
“The earlier that Paris is ratified and implemented in full, the more secure that future will become”, she added.

The Paris Agreement was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 at a high-level signature ceremony convened by the Secretary General in New York. At that ceremony, 174 States and the European Union signed the agreement and 15 States also deposited their instruments of ratification.
As of 3 September 2016, there are 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement. Of these, 26 States have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 39.06 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.
See the current status of ratification.
According to art. 21 of the Paris Agreement, the Paris Agreement enters into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of total global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the UN Depositary, in New York.

“The UN Secretary General’s special event in New York on 21 September offers a further, focused opportunity for others to join this wave of ambition and optimism towards a better and sustainable world,” Patricia Espinosa added.
China and the United States also announced that they were working together to secure a comprehensive and ambitious amendment of a sister treaty – the Montreal Protocol – when governments meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in October. The amendment is aimed at managing down the use of chemicals called Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) that are now being used in refrigeration systems such as air conditioners and which are potent greenhouse gases in their own right. The two countries said they wanted to secure not only an internationally-agreed phase-down of HFCs but an early ‘freeze’ date so that the phase-down starts sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile the United States and Chinese leaders also announced backing for action on aviation emissions under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at its meeting later this month.

The new announcements by China and the United States come in advance of the next round of UN climate negotiations, that is, COP22, to be held in Marrakech, Morocco in November.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited leaders from all countries to New York to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The event also provides an opportunity to any country to publicly commit to do so.
In his invitation, Mr Ban said: “The next step in our collective journey to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future is to ensure the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement.”

The objective of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming well below 2°C and as close to 1.5°C as possible, to increase economic and social ability to adapt to extreme climate, and to direct the scale and speed of global financial flows to match the required path to very low-emission, climate-resilient development.
Along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris forms part of a new and universal vision for a sustainable future around which the global community converged in 2015.
The unity of common purpose captured across these three agreements will now need to leverage an unprecedented scale and depth of national and international cooperative action involving all actors at all levels and in all regions of the world.

Source: UNFCCC newsroom and website.

See more information on the Paris Agreement on the UNFCCC website here.

See information on the status of ratification of the Paris Agreement here.

See the COP22 host government website

Authoritative information on the status of the Paris Agreement is provided by the Depositary, through the United Nations Treaty Collection website, and can be accessed here.

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