UN climate chief: Paris Agreement could enter into force next year
06 July 2016 | Mitigation
The Paris Agreement, a historic global pact to address climate change, could enter into force as early as next year, said outgoing United Nations (UN) climate chief Christiana Figueres on Tuesday.
Figueres told reporters at the seventh Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an informal ministerial meeting taking place here, that as more and more countries showed their intention to quickly ratify the pact reached last year in France, the Paris Agreement was approaching the threshold of starting operation.
"It will be possible for the Paris Agreement to enter into force as early as next year," said Figueres as her last day as the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"We will be three years ahead of schedule. It is again a confirmation of the spirit of collaboration that came out of Paris continues," she said.
A total of 178 parties of UNFCCC have signed the Paris Agreement. However, for the pact to come into effect, ratification documents must be submitted by at least 55 parties representing 55 percent of global carbon emissions.
Currently, 19 countries have completed this process. China and United States have said they would join the agreement by the end of 2016.
On Tuesday, Germany announced it would also ratify the agreement this year, as did Hungary and France.
"It is important to us to conclude the whole process before the climate conference in Marrakech," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, referring to the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in November this year.
According to EU procedure, Germany, as well as Hungary and France, would only submit their ratification documents with all the other EU member states together.
"We will make it during the course of next year," said German environment minister Barbara Hendricks, "otherwise we will only be a guest at the first conference of the parties of the Paris Agreement. I think this will be enough impetus to move us in that direction."
She added that the EU's ratification procedure would not be impacted by Britain's decision to exit the bloc, as the country would not complete its withdrawal procedure by next year.