Island nations lead ratification of Paris climate agreement
Island nations are leading the charge on ratification of the Paris Climate Change Agreement which opened for signing on April 22nd.
Low-lying island nations are leading the charge when it comes to ratifying last year's Paris climate change agreement.
Of the 197 countries which are party to the agreement, only 15 island nations and the Palestinian authority have signed or ratified it since it was opened last month.
The agreement will not come into force until at least 55 countries have signed, and 55 percent of global emissions have been covered.
The 16 nations who have signed so far represent only 0.04 percent of the emissions reduction target.
But a climate change specialist at the UN's development programme, Kevin Petrini, told Koroi Hawkins more countries are expected to follow the lead.
KEVIN PETRINI: There are some really good indications when we look at sort of the top 10 emitters globally, which include countries like China, the US, Russia and India and these. There have been some indications particularly from the US and China the two biggest global emitters that they would be looking at depositing their instruments of ratification later this year. Which would go a long way towards the fifty-five percent of the global emissions that would allow this to come into force.
KOROI HAWKINS: So even with the people who have sort of made signals that they will or they intend to sign on, this won't be kicking in anytime this year?
KP: Yeah at this point what happens is that if that threshold is reached I think up to a month or two before the Morocco meeting in November this year which will be the COP 22, Paris was the COP 21 and Morocco will be the COP 22 that is the Conference of Parties. If the entry of force happens into enough time before that in essence it could kick in this year. But it is sort of a tough call to see when countries will actually deposit their instruments of ratification. So it is a potential, yes they could but I guess probably it could just take a bit longer as well.
KH: And in the bigger picture with years and years of negotiations on climate change this is actually quite a positive step forward?
KP: Yeah it really sends a clear signal to the world that the governments of the world are very serious about this and it sends a very clear signal to the private sector as well. And you have statements, you know in the Paris agreement that talk about basically without using the term, but de-carbonisation by the second half of the 21st century. So it is a very strong signal and I think that there is a lot of change in the way the people are thinking about the future and how to produce energy. How to use their land and other types of activities.
KH: Just going back to the agreement itself, once this kicks in and comes on line. What is it countries will be agreeing to?
KP: Yeah what they are agreeing to do is, quite a bit of it has to do with transparency. What they have done is they have produced a nationally produced contribution once it comes into force. So that is the country's own vision on how they are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that will be submitted for scrutiny amongst the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and that is really important because it was discussed that there would be no back-sliding as we move forward. Any commitments that countries make now will be ratcheted up over the years. So this provides sort of a floor for what the ambition will be and over the years it will only get higher and I think that is one of the real strengths of the Paris agreement is that as time goes on it will get stronger and stronger through the processes established in the agreement.
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