Climate Action

‘Historic day’ as 175 countries sign Paris Climate Agreement

Officials from 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate action in New York City on Friday

  • 25 April 2016
  • William Brittlebank

Officials from 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate action in New York City on Friday, signalling a crucial milestone in international efforts to combat climate change.

The number of signatories set a new record for an international United Nations accord and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the next step is to ensure that the landmark deal enters into force as quickly as possible.

Addressing a press conference following the opening ceremony of the signing event on Earth Day 2016, Mr. Ban, said: “Today is an historic day… This is by far the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day.”

According to the UN chief, the participation by so many countries and the attendance of world leaders left “no doubt” that the international community is determined to implement the Paris Agreement and combat climate change.

Mr Ban also welcomed the strong presence of the private sector and civil society, saying they are “crucial to realising the great promise of the Paris Agreement.”

Adopted in the French capital in December by 195 UN member states, the Agreement’s objective is to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

It will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratify the deal.

The UN chief said: “If all the countries that have signed today take the next step at the national level and join the Agreement, the world will have met the requirement needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force.”

States including Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia and Tuvalu have already ratified the deal.

French President François Hollande sat alongside Mr Ban in New York and said: “I want to underscore that in Paris, it wasn’t just a single agreement that was brought about and needs to be ratified.”

Mr Hollande added: “In Paris, there were also four initiatives that were launched: the International Solar Energy Alliance, the development plan for renewable energy, the innovation mission with [United States] President Obama, and finally the high-level coalition to set a price for fossil fuels and coal… France should be an example to show that it wants to be the first – or one of the first – not just to ratify but also to implement the contents of the Agreement.”