COP21, the agreement becomes a reality

COP21, the agreement becomes a reality

Simona Manna
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With the ratification of the European Union, last November's climate agreement in Paris is officially entering into force. The 55% threshold of global emissions has been reached, with the signing of a total of 63 countries

The Paris climate agreement has now become a reality. After the United States, China and, a few days ago, India, the world’s main polluting countries, the European Union ratified the agreement: a step that triggers the entry into force, subject to the signing of at least 55 countries, accounting for 55% of global emissions. With the ratification of the Old Continent, therefore, 64 countries have signed and the necessary emissions threshold has been passed. The timing is also perfect: the agreement technically enters into force 30 days after the signing of EU. This could mean that it will happen before the next climate conference, COP22, which will commence on November 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.

The decisive role of Brussels

At a moment of divisions on many challenges, let us now show we are united on the biggest one of all @UN_Spokesperson

The Old Continent is celebrating the event. "Today, the European Union has transformed climate ambitions into climate action. The Paris agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible without the European Union", said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the French Environment Minister and President of COP21, Ségolène Royal, added, rejoicing, that "it is a historic moment" and that "the seven European countries that have already ratified it (France, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia and Portugal, Ed.) will go on Friday morning to New York to deposit the ratification instruments". It was Europe, he then said, "that put weight on the advancement toward the implementation of the Paris agreement", added Royal. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon was also satisfied, speaking of a "historic step." The Paris agreement, signed on December 12, 2015 by the negotiators of 195 countries participating in the UN conference, aims to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2° C, ideally pursuing the goal of +1.5° C. To reach the goal, emissions must begin to decline from 2020. A process for reviewing the goals every five years is also planned: the first step must take place in 2018 and then the five-year checks will follow.

Given the ratification of the Old Continent, therefore, a total of 64 countries have signed and the necessary emissions threshold has been passed

What this step means for India

India did not choose a day at random to officially ratify the Paris agreement. It did so on October 2, the anniversary of the birth of a pioneer of sustainability, Gandhi. Immediately after the ratification, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, first addressed the thought, writing on Twitter that "Gandhi’s message inspires us all. India will always work with the world to fight climate change and create a green planet." The ratification of the agreement is of great significance to New Delhi and to the world: India is the third top polluting country in the world, with production accounting for 4.5% of global emissions and, with this gesture, it shows that it wishes to take its commitment seriously, to make the country more sustainable. The INDC (India’s Nationally Determined Contribution) presented by India ahead of COP21, provide for a commitment by New Delhi to generate 40% of its energy using renewable sources by 2030, and to reduce the intensity of emissions of its gross domestic product. India also undertakes to protect and restore its forest cover, so that in 2030 it will absorb between 2.5 and 3 billion tons of CO2. A difficult direction, given that India’s energy policy is still strongly focused on coal. Moreover, so far, in the debate on the fight against climate change, developing countries, led by India and China, while acknowledging that climate change is a serious problem, have always claimed not to want to risk slowing down their growth and have repeatedly requested different anti-CO2 measures from those imposed on wealthy countries. India has already expressed its commitment towards an increasingly sustainable path with a new national energy policy, ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, focusing mainly on renewable energies and on the goal of making the country energy independent. An ambitious target, given that, again according to the government, it is estimated that the amount of imported coal will rise to 30% by 2030 and that of fossil fuels to 80%.

Gandhi Ji's message inspires all of us. India will always work to overcome climate change & create a green planet @narendramodi