Historic climate pact comes into force
A worldwide pact to battle global warming entered into force on Friday, just a week before nations reassemble to discuss how to make good on their promises to cut planet-warming greenhouse gases. Dubbed the Paris Agreement, it is the first-ever deal binding all nations – rich and poor – to a commitment to cap global warming caused mainly from the burning of coal, oil and gas.
“A historic day for the planet,” said the office of President Francois Hollande of France, host to the 2015 negotiations that yielded the breakthrough pact.
“Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster,” UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa and Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said in a joint statement.
Mezouar will preside over the UN meeting opening in Marrakesh on Monday.
“It is also a moment to look ahead with sober assessment and renewed will over the task ahead,” they said.
This means drastically and urgently cutting emissions, which requires political commitment and considerable financial investment. The urgency was brought home by a UN report on Thursday warning that emission trends were steering the world towards a climate “tragedy”.
By 2030, said the UN Environment Programme, annual emissions will be 12 to 14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) higher than the desired level of 42 billion tonnes. The 2014 level was about 52.7 billion tonnes. As carbon dioxide levels passed an ominous milestone in 2015, 2016 is on track to become the hottest year on record.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris as well as public buildings in Marrakesh, Adelaide, Brussels, New Delhi and Sao Paulo were to be lit in green to mark the entry into force of the pact meant to stop the rot.