Today on Earth day, a historic meeting will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where countries have committed to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
This agreement was approved by the 196 parties to the United Nations Framework Conventions of Climate Change (UNFCCC) in COP21 in Paris on Dec. 12, 2015. The agreement was to limit global warming below two degrees Celsius and once it’s signed, each country needs to ratify it and work to reduce their emissions.
Signatures for the agreement
After the Friday event at the UN headquarters, the period for signatures will remain open for one year, so that all parties can sign to validate the Paris Agreement and ratify it.
In the ceremony, the agreement will be signed by the representatives of the countries to the UNFCCC. Along with that, the representatives will make their national statements of the action plans to fight against climate change.
The commitment of every country
After each nation finishes doing the signatures and submitting their action plans, the plans will be presented to the Depository under UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon. It is after the action plan has been deposited, a country has officially ratified the Paris agreement.
For the Paris agreement to become binding under international law, 55 countries must ratify it. The Paris Agreement will become effective on the 30th day after the date on which at least these 55 countries, which cut at least about 55 percent of total emissions of greenhouse gases, have reached the full requirements under the agreement.
This is the first time so many countries are coming together to sign an agreement, sending a strong message of commitment to combat against the evils of climate change.
From India, Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar will sign the agreement. India had advocated a strong and durable climate agreement based on the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC.
Effectiveness of this agreement
In theory, the Paris agreement could make a huge difference. In practice, everything depends on countries not just signing up to it but acting on it. But it’s still just one step in the long journey to keep the global temperature rise well below two degrees. It brings into effect the approach and policy infrastructure needed to tackle the UNFCCC’s ambitious goal to minimize human-caused climate change.
International Earth Day
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, in the US, organised by the Earth Day Network whose mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and mobilize as the most effective vehicle for building a healthy, sustainable environment, tackling climate change and protecting the Earth for future generations. The Earth Day Network has set a target of planting 7.8 million trees in the next five years.
Trees help to combat climate change as they absorb excess CO2 that is harmful to the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, in one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles, as described by the UN on the International Day of Mother Earth website. Trees also help to counter the loss of species. Likewise, for the different communities and their livelihoods, trees help achieve economic and environmental sustainability in the long term and provide food, energy and income.