“What once seemed unthinkable is now unstoppable. Strong international support for the Paris Agreement entering into force is a testament to the urgency for action, and reflects the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge”. These are the words spoken by UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon regarding the Paris Climate Agreement, entered into force on 4th November, 2016.
As highlighted by Mariette Le Roux and Catherine Horus, the Paris Agreement is a worldwide pact to battle global warming and is the first-ever deal binding all the world’s nations, rich and poor, to a commitment to cap global warming caused mainly by the burning of coal, oil and gas.
The Agreement, ratified by countries representing more than 55 % of global carbon emissions, obliges to hold global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. “That is what scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible” (The Guardian). Climate change, indeed, is responsible for the increase in extreme weather events. To combat this phenomenon, on April 22nd, the Paris Agreement was opened for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The historic Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted in December 2015 and signed by 192 countries has entered into force November 4th.
The great innovation is that, Compared to previous international treaties of similar magnitude and complexity, the Paris Agreement was ratified relatively quickly, with international support crucially arriving from all of the world’s big players, including China, the U.S., various EU Member States and India, the worst polluting areas all over the world.