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India confirms Historic Paris climate Agreement at United Nations

India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a significant push for the deal to enter into force by the end of this year

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Air pollution(Representational Image). Pixabay

October 3, 2016: India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, today ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a significant push for the deal to enter into force by the end of this year.

Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin handed over the Instrument of Ratification signed by President Pranab Mukherjee, to Santiago Villalpando, the Head of the Treaties Division at the UN, at a special ceremony here attended by top UN officials and senior diplomats to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded India’s “climate leadership”, saying India’s ratification of the Paris Climate Change agreement moves the world an “important step closer” toward achieving the goal of entering the landmark deal into force this year.

In his message for the International Day of Non-violence, marked every year on Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Ban said there is no better way to commemorate Gandhi and his legacy for people and the planet than with India submitting its instrument of ratification to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“I warmly congratulate India for its climate leadership, and for building on the strong momentum we see from all corners of the globe for the agreement to enter into force as quickly as possible this year. India’s ratification of the agreement moves the world an important step closer toward achieving that goal,” Ban said in the message.

He called on all countries to complete their domestic processes for ratification and also strive in all activities to achieve progress through non-violence.

The UN chief said the commitment to sustainable living that Gandhi emphasised on is reflected in a “momentous way” as India is depositing its instrument of ratification to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“India keeps its promise. On Gandhiji’s birth anniversary, we deposit the instrument of ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Akbaruddin had on Friday said that India had played a “key role” in the negotiations and finalisation of the Paris agreement as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a “personal commitment” to the climate deal.

Akbaruddin had said that India’s effort was to be amongst those nations who give a push to the entry into force.

With India stressing on the importance of climate justice, its goal will be that “climate justice ends are also served” once the treaty comes into force.

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The ratification by India, which has a population of over 1.2 billion, is expected to give momentum to the implementation of measures at the international level to control global warming by limiting greenhouse gases.

The ratification formalises pledges made by each country, including India, to take actions to curb or lower greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards and try to keep the rise in average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India, the world’s third biggest carbon emitter after China and the US which are responsible for around 40 per cent of the global carbon emissions, accounts for 4.1 per cent of global emissions.

Car emissions contribute to global climate change. Pixabay
Car emissions contribute to global climate change. Pixabay

Earlier this month, the US and China had formally joined the Paris agreement, which was adopted by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change last December in Paris.

The pact will come into force after it has been ratified by at least 55 countries which account for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. With India’s move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 per cent of emissions have now ratified the accord.

Paris Agreement was adopted by 185 nations last year on December 12 and India signed it in New York on April 22 this year. A total of 191 countries have signed the Paris Agreement so far.

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However, India has decided to ratify the agreement “in the context” of its national laws, availability of means of implementation and “its own assessment” of global commitment to combating climate change.

“While agreeing to ratify the Paris agreement, the Cabinet has also decided that India should declare that it will treat its national laws, its development agenda, availability of means of implementation, its assessment of global commitment to combating climate change, and predictable and affordable access to cleaner source of energy as the context in which the agreement is being ratified,” an official statement had earlier said. (IANS)

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“It’s Important that we Tackle Climate Change with much Greater Ambition,” Says UN Chief

The report warns that key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced

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UN, climate change
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a press conference about climate change in New York, March 28, 2019. VOA

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Thursday that climate change was moving faster than international efforts to mitigate it.

“It is important that we tackle climate change with much greater ambition,” Guterres told reporters at the launch of a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) annual report on the subject. The report warns that key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced.

Levels of carbon dioxide — a main driver of global warming — are the highest they have been in 3 million years, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As a result, oceans are heating up and their waters are becoming more acidic, affecting all kinds of marine life.

Higher temperatures

Temperatures on land are also rising — 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, and the years 2015 to 2018 were the four warmest in global temperature record-keeping, the WMO report said.

UN, climate change, Paris climate meet
FILE – The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in green with the words “Paris Agreement Is Done,” to celebrate the day that the U.N. climate change agreement went into force, in Paris, Nov. 4, 2016. VOA

The secretary-general said it was necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent over the next decade in order to be carbon neutral globally by 2050.

“If not, it will be irreversible, not to be able to achieve the goals that were established in Paris,” Guterres said of the 2015 climate agreement. “We are very close to the moment in which it will no longer be possible to come to the end of the century with only 1.5 degrees. We have very few years to reverse these trends, because the concentrations of CO2 [carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere will not disappear.”

The aim under the Paris Agreement is to keep the planet from warming well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists hope to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“We have both the technical and financial means to reach the 1.5 percent target,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas told reporters at the launch.

climate change, UN, Paris
Levels of carbon dioxide — a main driver of global warming — are the highest they have been in 3 million years, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Pixabay

But if the world fails to make the necessary changes quickly, the U.N. warned, a warming planet can lead to all sorts of difficulties. Droughts and floods could destroy crops and livestock, causing food insecurity; changes in the oceans will affect fishing and ecosystems; rising sea levels could jeopardize large coastal cities; and humans will feel health effects from pollution and heat waves. Such upheavals will also lead to more displaced persons, increased migration and social instability.

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Weather disasters 

Extreme weather events are already on the rise, with this month’s Cyclone Idai just the most recent example. The storm’s deadly winds and huge rainfall struck parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing hundreds and wiping out homes and livelihoods. Last year, the report counted 14 weather- and climate-related disasters in the United States, costing nearly $50 billion in damage.

The U.N. is hosting a summit in September on the margins of the annual General Assembly gathering of leaders that it hopes will mobilize new climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. (VOA)