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European Union Signs the Paris Climate Agreement and Calls For its Swift Ratification

Monday, 04 July 2016
On 22 April 2016, the European Union and its 28 Member States signed the universal Paris Climate Agreement* in a high-level signing ceremony, convened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the UN headquarters in New York, United States. The Paris Climate Agreement was adopted at COP 21 that took place in December 2015 in Paris, France. The Agreement will remain open for signature until 17 April 2017 and will enter into force when ratified by at least 55 countries, which together represent at least 55% of global emissions (Article 21).
 The European Union was the first major economy to table its commitment in the run up to the Paris climate conference COP21 and now calls for the swift ratification of the Agreement. The Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, and the Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete attended the high-level ceremony. Vice-President Šefčovič and Dutch Environment Minister Sharon Dijksma signed the agreement on behalf of the European Union and Commissioner Arias Cañete  delivered the official statement on behalf of the European Union.

Vice-President Šefčovič has commented in Brussels: "Our signature means first and foremost that we are signing up to the commitments we made in Paris. It sends also a clear signal that we are signing up to a fundamental and disruptive transition to a low-carbon economy and society. This transition is now irreversible and unstoppable. At the global level, we are seeing the winds of change. Europe is part of this and will continue to be a driving force. That’s why we need to deliver the Energy Union and create the conditions for future opportunities, innovation and job-creation that this transition will bring. Let’s use the momentum."

Commissioner Arias Cañete has announced in Brussels: "We have agreed. We will sign, and we will act. In Europe, we have already started our homework of implementing the Paris Agreement and we will continue to lead the global low-carbon economy transition. We will ratify the Paris Agreement by securing the support of our 29 parliaments, and by demonstrating that we will have the policies in place to meet our commitments. This will ensure that when we act, we will act on a solid legal basis. Already before the start of this summer, the European Commission will present a proposal to the Council to ratify the Paris Agreement on behalf of the European Union."

At the high-level signing ceremony Dutch Minister for the Environment and President of the Council, Sharon Dijksma, said: "This is a historic day for global climate action. The Paris Agreement is a real turning point in limiting temperature rise and preventing risks posed by climate change. This signature sets out in black and white the EU's commitment to do its part and keep up the momentum from Paris. Continuous action is required."
At the high-level signing ceremony, 174 States and the European Union signed the agreement and 15 States also deposited their instruments of ratification.

As of 29 June 2016, there are 178 signatories to the Paris Agreement.  Of these, 19 States have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 0.18 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.

* The Paris Agreement aims at keeping global temperature rise well below 2°C and to make efforts to keep it to 1.5°C (compared to pre-industrial levels). To this end, countries have an obligation to take measures to reduce their emissions.  There will be a review process every five years to take stock and increase ambition over time. The progress of countries in their commitments will be tracked to ensure transparency and accountability. The need for all countries to adapt to climate change by preparing and reinforcing their resilience is also acknowledged.  In terms of solidarity, the EU and other developed countries commit to continue providing climate finance to developing countries.

Sources: European Commission
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