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A Turning Point in the Fight Against Climate Change


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, claps after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signs the Paris Agreement on climate change with his granddaughter Isabelle Dobbs Higginson, Friday, April 22, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

On April 22, a signing ceremony took place at the United Nations in New York. Over 170 Parties, including the United States, signed the Agreement and over a dozen have already joined.

If global climate change is the defining challenge of our time, as both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have stated on numerous occasions, then the Paris Climate Agreement is the first step toward meeting it head-on.

Last December 12th, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, which establishes a global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and sets a goal for all parties that includes keeping the temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. In order to do so, the world will need to move toward a clean energy economy.

“Paris was a turning point in the fight against climate change,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Paris marked the moment when the world finally decided to heed the ever-rising mountain of evidence that had been piling up for years. It marked the moment that we put to rest once and for all the debate over whether climate change is real – and began instead to galvanize our focus on how, as a global community, we are going to address the irrefutable reality that nature is changing at an increasingly rapid pace due to our own choices.”

On April 22, a signing ceremony took place at the United Nations in New York. Over 170 Parties, including the United States, signed the Agreement and over a dozen have already joined.

But in order for the Agreement to go into effect, it must first be accepted, approved, or ratified by at least 55 Parties that collectively emit at least 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

After joining the Paris Agreement, countries will begin to implement the Agreement, so that the world can accelerate the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.

“The urgency of this challenge is only becoming more pronounced,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “The United States looks forward to formally joining this agreement this year, and we call on all of our international partners to do so.”

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