European Parliament Ratifies Global Climate Deal

A demonstrator holds a banner reading "One climate one world" during a rally held by several Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) to form a human chain on the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on December 12, 2015 on the sidelines of the COP21, the UN conference on global warming. French hosts submit the final version of a global climate-saving pact to negotiators at UN Conference on december 12. The goal is for ministers to approve the agreement by the end of the day but that could be extended one more day. / AFP / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)


The European Parliament approved ratification by the 28-nation European Union of the global climate deal, a step that is set to enable the most sweeping accord to combat pollution to come into force less than a year after it was agreed to in Paris.

The EU Parliament voted on Tuesday to endorse the union-level approval of the accord during a plenary session in Strasbourg, France. The EU aims to deposit its ratification document at the United Nations later this week, making the climate deal’s enactment criteria fulfilled. That would pave the way for the Paris agreement to take effect 30 days later, in time for the first meeting of parties to occur at this year’s UN climate-change conference starting on Nov. 7 in Morocco.

“Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action,” said European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The EU, which wants to lead the global fight against climate change, has come under increasing pressure to ratify the Paris deal after U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping ratified it on Sept. 3. India approved the agreement on Oct. 2, taking the number of countries that have joined the agreement to 62. Together, the nations are responsible for 51.89 percent of global greenhouse-gas discharges.

The Paris accord needs to be ratified by at least 55 parties accounting for 55 percent of global emissions to enter into force. The EU’s 28 nations account together for 12 percent and the seven member states who already ratified the agreement domestically cover 4.57 percent, enough to meet the 55 percent requirement.

“With the action taken by the European Parliament, I’m confident we’ll be able to cross the 55 percent threshold very soon, in just a matter of a few days,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a press conference after the vote.

The ratification at the union level approved by the EU Parliament enables the bloc to join the Paris agreement before the remaining member nations finalize their domestic approval procedures.

Under the global accord reached in December, more than 190 nations agreed to work toward capping global temperature increases since pre-industrial times to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The EU aims to reduce the heat-trapping gases by at least 40 percent in 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

“We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernize our economy,” said EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. “The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change.”

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