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Paris climate accord signed on Earth Day
April 22, 2016, 6:09 pm

Kerry brought his granddaughter to the signing of the Paris agreements at the UN on Friday [Xinhua]

Kerry brought his granddaughter to the signing of the Paris agreements at the UN on Friday [Xinhua]

World leaders and representatives from 170 countries arrived in New York on Friday and signed the non-binding Paris Climate Change accord, which was agreed to last December.

The Paris agreement on climate change was adopted with no objection by the 196 Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) hosted by France.

The Paris pact, which sets a target of limiting global warming by 2100 to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, will not be a fully legally binding treaty.

Arriving to the UN General Assembly with his granddaughter – perhaps a gesture symbolizing the efforts needed to safeguard the environment for future generations – US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington would join the agreement later in the year and called on other countries to do the same.

“It’s fair to say that all of us could feel an extraordinary sweep of emotion and joy at the moment in Paris when 196 nations simultaneously said a resounding yes, we will do our part, we will live up to the responsibility to future generations and together citizens of the world, we will work to save our planet from ourselves,” he said.

The final Paris accord has agreed that rich nations need to maintain a $100 billion a year funding pledge beyond 2020, and use that figure as a “floor” for further support agreed by 2025.

There will be stock-taking of the pact in 2023, although countries like China will be allowed to extend that to 2030, as announced in the agreement. There will be further reviews every five years to “ratchet up” the measures adopted in 2015, if the need arises.

The Paris agreement runs to 32 pages with 29 articles, including objective, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building, and transparency of action and support.

Scientists say the extensively high level of carbon emissions have already created significant global warming which has caused flooding and higher-than-normal temperatures in Australia and much of the Middle East.

The signing of the agreement comes just over a month after a prominent scientific research group based in the US said that climate change attributed to human consumption and practice is causing abnormal weather patterns.

The report – Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change – published by the the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) says that man-made climate change has “led to discernible and quantifiable changes in the intensity and/or frequency of some types of extreme” weather.

These include heat waves, droughts, heavy rain and snowstorms.

The report builds on earlier research dating back to 2003 when a freak summer heat wave killed thousands of people in Europe.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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