UN says record 155 countries to sign climate agreement

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2016 4:16 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A record 155 countries will sign the landmark agreement to tackle climate change at a ceremony at U.N. headquarters on April 22, the United Nations said Friday.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said that five countries — Barbados, Belize, Tuvalu, Maldives and Samoa — will not only sign the agreement reached in Paris in December but deliver their ratification.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who is in charge of global climate negotiations, have invited leaders from all 193 U.N. member states to the event. The U.N. says more than 60 heads of state and government plan to attend.

The current record of 119 signatures on the opening day for signing an international agreement is held by the Law of the Sea treaty in 1994.

The Paris agreement will take effect 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the secretary-general.

The list of countries planning to sign the Paris agreement includes the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming: China, United States, Japan, India, Brazil, Australia and many European Union countries including Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

The agreement sets a collective goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). It requires all countries to submit plans for climate action and to update them every five years, though such plans are not legally binding.

Secretary-General Ban has stressed that the signing ceremony is just a first step in accelerating efforts to tackle climate change.