The European Union and its 28 Member States signed the global environmental deal – the Paris Climate Agreement – on 22 April 2016 in a high-profile ceremony in New York. The deal was finalized at the UN climate conference in December 2015 that took place in Paris. The agreement is now open for signature for one year. Dutch Minister for the Environment and President of the Council, Sharon Dijksma, and Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefcovic will sign the agreement on behalf of the EU.
The so-called COP21 agreement, as the Paris deal is officially called, sets a milestone in global climate action. Mrs Dijksma, commented that “the Paris Agreement is a real turning point in limiting temperature rise and preventing risks posed by climate change,” while adding that “This signature sets out in black and white the EU’s commitment to do its part and keep up the momentum from Paris. Continuous action is required.”
The Paris Agreement will enter into force once it is signed and ratified by at least 55 countries, accounting together for at least 55 percent of the world’s global greenhouse emissions. Then, it will become legally binding for the countries that have ratified it. Last month, the European Council emphasized that the EU and its Member States needed to ratify the COP21 as soon as possible.
The Paris deal aims at keeping global temperature rise well below 2°C and to make efforts to keep it to 1.5°C (compared to pre-industrial levels). Countries are also obliged to take steps to reduce their emissions and there will be a review every five years to take stock and summarize progress and achievements. All countries are expected to ensure transparency and accountability so that their progress can be easily tracked.