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By Elena Crete
UN building
On April 22nd, Earth Day, world leaders and government representatives convened in New York for the high level Signing Ceremony of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The ceremony marks the first step toward implementation and is a strong signal of the momentum that this landmark agreement is gaining around the globe. During the event 177 member states pledged their commitment to this historic agreement by signing it and 15 of them went a step further and ratified it. While this is just the beginning and much progress on climate change still needs to be made, the Signing Ceremony highlighted the unity and determination of the global community to move forward to keep warming below 2°C goal.

Before the Paris Agreement becomes enforceable there is a 3 step process. The Signing Ceremony on Earth Day constituted the completion of the first step in which the negotiating countries made a public demonstration on their commitment to this agreement. What follows now, is ratification by the national governments of all 177 signatories. Thus far 15 have completed this step. Lastly, the Paris Agreement requires the signatures of 55 of the ratifying countries, which must represent at least 55% of global emissions. Indeed, much remains to be done, but the start has been very encouraging and the impetus is strong. The Signing Ceremony on April 22nd, was well attended by SDSN staff and widely covered by numerous media outlets as shown below.

The global community remains optimistic at the prospect of the agreement becoming enforceable by the end of 2016, especially ahead of any political change in the United States. While notions of “is this enough” echo throughout the development community, the majority remains positive and sees this historic event as yet another step in the right direction toward limiting our global emissions.

The SDSN and IDDRI Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) teams have worked over the last few years to develop deep decarbonization strategies for 16 of the G20 countries, including some of the world’s biggest emitters. Moving forward the DDPP framework will serve as a premiere case study for counties to reference as they ratify the Paris Agreement and continue to develop their Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDs) in line with their Paris Agreement commitments.

 

Related SDSN media coverage

New York TimesWall Street JournalThe GuardianCNNThe Huffington PostCBS