European Union ratifies Paris climate change agreement

STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 4 (UPI) — The European Parliament, the European Union’s executive arm, ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change Tuesday, triggering global approval of the accord.

The 28-nation bloc approved the pact, the most sweeping effort to combat global pollution, at a session in Strasbourg, France. The vote indicates the threshold for ratification — approval by at least 55 parties accounting for 55 percent of global emissions — was reached. The EU, which seeks to be regarded as a leader in the fight against climate change, came under pressure to endorse the plan, codified in 2015, after the United States, China and India did so.

Parliament President Jean-Claude Junker, who in September noted slow delivery on promises has undermined the EU’s credibility, said Tuesday, “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union. Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”

The main element of the agreement is a promise, by 190 nations, to work toward capping global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius over temperatures in the pre-industrial era. The EU has set a goal of reducing heat-trapping gases by at least 40 percent, compared to 1990 levels, by 2030.

Delivering the Parliament’s ratification document to the United Nations, later this week, will fulfill the agreement’s enactment criteria; the deal will take effect 30 days later, in time for the start of a Nov. 7 climate change conference in Morocco.

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