Paris deal set to effect climate change, Obama says

Toluse Olorunnipa
Bloomberg News

The Paris climate accord negotiated last year has been ratified by enough countries to go into force, a step that will help reduce worldwide carbon pollution and stave off global warming, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

“Today is a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations,” Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “Today, the world has officially crossed the threshold for the Paris agreement to take effect.”

The Paris accord is the capstone for Obama’s campaign to reduce carbon emissions, blamed for rising global temperatures that are causing environmental damage worldwide. The agreement seeks to limit temperature increases from pre-industrial levels to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, and it entered into force after hitting a threshold of ratification by 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global emissions. The European Union, with 28 nations accounting for 12 percent of global emissions, approved the deal this week.

The deal takes effect 30 days after meeting the ratification threshold.

Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose countries are the world’s two largest emitters of carbon pollution, ratified the Paris climate agreement last month. Because the accord is not a treaty, U.S. ratification did not require a vote by the Senate, where Republicans mostly oppose the agreement.