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The 2015 Paris Agreement becomes legally binding on 4th November 2016, a record 11 months after its adoption by the twenty first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) held in Paris. As of today 94 of the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC have ratified the Paris Agreement. This represents 66% of global emissions.

The Paris Agreement commits nations to phase out greenhouse gases on a net basis by mid-century in order to limit global temperature rise “to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels”. Track 0 played an important role in Paris supporting the Marshall Islands delegation convene the High Ambition Coalition which fought for inclusion of the 2/1.5 goal and the submission of 2050 long term strategies by Parties to the Paris Agreement.

The timing of this entry into force is significant as it comes just before COP22 and the US elections. The speed at which ratification was passed by the nations was remarkable, demonstrating that combined political, social and economic ambition is growing globally throughout governments, cities, regions, businesses and investors.

The momentum for early ratification came largely from small islands states who pushed bigger emitters to ratify early. The Marshall Islands, for example, issued a call for early ratification at the Micronesian Presidents Summit held in Palau in February 2016 and itself got the ball rolling by ratifying in time for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Ratification Ceremony held on 22 April 2016.

Major progress was made when the US and China – collectively responsible for 38% of global emissions – ratified on 3 September 2016. Brazil, India and many other bigger countries followed suit including France, Germany and the EU who joined the ratified Parties on 5 October.

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary and Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP22 and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco, outline why this is a moment to celebrate in a joint editorial, which you can read here.

Track 0 has joined the celebration of entry into force by producing a short animated video entitled “The Paris Agreement in a Nutshell”, which explains the Paris Agreement and how it will help to address climate change and promote the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It recognises that Paris will need to kickstart further ambition by governments and businesses if we are to comply with the terms of the Agreement.

 

 

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