Climate Change

China and US Give Big Boost to Paris Climate Accord

On September 3 China and the US jointly agreed to ratify the Climate Change Agreement produced at the COP21 conference in Paris last December. The Paris agreement calls for the global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels to held below 2 deg.C and possibly below 1.5 deg.C before the end of this century. The fact that the average global temperature rise so far this year has exceeded 1 deg.C places in doubt whether the COP21 limits can be achieved, but the COP21 agreement is the best we have and in order for it come into force it must be ratified by 55 countries representing 55% of global GHG emissions.

Before September 2 only 24 countries representing about 1 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions had ratified the Paris Agreement. The ratification by China (20 pct of global emissions) and the US (18 pct) not only raises the current commitment to 39 percent, but is an impetus for other major countries to follow suit and complete ratification well before the April 21, 2017 deadline. Among the remaining major GHG emitters are the European Union (12 pct), Russia (7 pct), India (4.1 pct), and Japan (3.8 pct)

In a statement from the Sierra Club Michael Brune said:
The Sierra Club applauds President Obama and President Xi for leading the effort to bring the Paris Agreement into force this year and tackle the climate crisis in a meaningful and swift way. Today’s historic announcement has set a global precedent that has catapulted the world to the cusp of formally implementing the Paris Agreement and will have major positive implications for generations to come. We look forward to continuing to work with governments around the world to bring the Paris Agreement across the finish line and will do our part to build on the promises made in Paris to reduce carbon pollution and ensure clean air, clean water, and healthy communities across the globe.”

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