The European Parliament on Tuesday (4 October) voted to ratify the Paris Agreement, thus making the deal ready to become binding before this year’s COP 22 in Marrakesh, which will focus on practical solutions to climate change. The Paris Agreement shall enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval.
The EU vote in Strasbourg was observed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and brought the deal over the threshold of 55 parties. Representatives from the 28 European Union member countries voted 610 to 38 in favor of the agreement. “It is truly an honor to be able to witness the historic moment,” Ban Ki-Moon commented after the vote passed, and said he “looked forward to the Paris agreement entering into force as soon as possible, in just a few days’ time.” Martin Schulz, President of the EU Parliament said that “the entry into force of the Paris agreement less than one year after its signature is a massive achievement, given that it took eight years for the Kyoto protocol”.
The EU vote was never in doubt, though it is considered a success as it was necessary to bypass some less motivated states, such as Poland or Italy. Moreover, it has a very symbolic meaning as it manages to bring the deal into effect before the next UN climate conference begins. Once the agreement officially goes into effect, it is binding for all the countries that ratified it for four years. Then, the UN has to decide how to monitor and enforce the deal. Each nation that has signed the Paris Agreement also has to submit a plan for how to achieve the targets outlined in the deal.