Last week, in a historic move, the Paris Agreement on climate change was formally ratified by the European Union, ensuring the Agreement had enough support for entry into force in early November. The ratification is essential for galvanizing the climate action that will help restore the health of Earth’s one ocean.
First things first: what exactly is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement, and represents the first time that all countries have agreed they will act together to limit the rise in global temperatures. Countries signing the Agreement agree to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. For the U.S., this means cutting emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025 as compared to 2005 levels.
Wait, wasn’t the Paris Agreement agreed upon in December?
At least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions were needed to formally sign on in order for the agreement to be binding. As of October 13, 78 nations had officially ratified the agreement.
The work is just beginning.
Participating countries must begin to determine how to set these ambitious climate change strategies into motion. For the U.S., this means developing new and innovative low-carbon solutions and deploying new energy technologies. As U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz stated, “With each country doing their part to meet the Paris Agreement, we can leverage science and technology to combat climate change, improve quality of life around the world, and create unprecedented opportunities through a low-carbon economy.”