China ratifies Paris deal, US action awaited: Emissions to fall

China ratifies Paris deal, US action awaited: Emissions to fall

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Beijing (AP/UNB) — China announced on Saturday that it has ratified the emissions-cutting agreement reached last year in Paris, giving a big boost to efforts to bring the accord into effect by the end of this year.
The United States was also expected to announce that it was formally joining the Paris Agreement in advance of the Group of 20 summit that starts Sunday in China.
While tensions have risen between Beijing and Washington during President Barack Obama’s term over issues including cyber hacking, the South China Sea and the planned deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in China’s neighbor South Korea, combating climate change is one area where both countries have stressed they can work together.Together, the two countries produce 38 percent of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Both were key to getting an agreement in Paris last year. To build momentum for a deal, they set a 2030 deadline for emissions to stop rising and announced their “shared conviction that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity.”
China had said in April that it would ratify the Paris Agreement, negotiated by representatives of 195 nations in Paris last year, before its hosting of the G-20 summit. The agreement goes into force when joined by at least 55 nations that produce a total of 55 percent of global emissions. Together, China and the U.S. together produce 38 percent.
Li Shuo, senior climate policy adviser for the environmental group Greenpeace, said Saturday that the two countries acting on the agreement was “a very important next step.”
If the agreement is eventually adopted, he said, “we’ll have a truly global climate agreement that will bind the two biggest emitters in the world.”
Before China’s announcement, 23 countries had ratified or otherwise joined the agreement, representing just 1 percent of global emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.
The agreement’s long-term goal is to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with pre-industrial times. It has an aspirational goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). Temperatures have already risen by almost 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) since the industrial revolution.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to set national targets for reducing or reining in their greenhouse gas emissions. Those targets aren’t legally binding, but countries must report on their progress and update their targets every five years. The first cycle begins in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms. Developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time.
Meanwhile, on the expected announcement by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping officially joining last year’s Paris agreement, May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org issued the following statement:
“The Paris Agreement could be the next nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry if governments actually follow through on their commitments. The only way to reach the 1.5° or 2.0°C targets is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground. While it’s not everything we hoped for, the implementation of the Paris Agreement will radically remake the energy sector. The US-China announcement serves as another warning bell for investors to take climate risk seriously and divest from fossil fuel companies.
While people celebrate the agreement, let’s remember there is still a dangerous gap between what the governments are signing up to, what they are doing, and the real ambition we need to avert the worst impacts of climate change. As a movement, we will continue to push governments to go well beyond their current targets and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy.” – News Desk

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