Climate deal signing opens new era for action

Posted on April, 22 2016

Countries gather to sign first global deal on climate change
Gland, Switzerland – Countries gathered at United Nations headquarters today to sign the Paris Agreement, the first global deal on climate change.
The Paris Agreement includes a commitment to keep global warming to 1.5° Celsius. It is vital that countries remain focused on this goal and immediately increase their national efforts to achieve it, along with working to get the deal to enter into force.
“We heard today that governments will move swiftly to get the Paris Agreement in place, and that’s good. However, far more still needs to be done. Countries need to take immediate, scaled-up and collaborative action at home on renewable energy, forests and finance to avoid the very worst impacts of climate change,” said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
While the signing of the Paris Agreement makes history as an important step in global climate efforts, planetary temperatures and climate impacts are making history as well. Last month recorded the warmest March ever, following 11 straight months of record temperatures. One of the worst droughts ever has hit eastern and southern Africa, 93 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef has been impacted by coral bleaching, and Greenland’s ice sheet is undergoing dramatic, early season melting.
Our political leaders agreed in Paris to try to keep global warming under 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial times. This is not just a number – it’s the difference between safety and crisis for many, particularly the most vulnerable,” added Smith. “We must continue to see evidence of stronger national ambition and action if the Paris Agreement is to be more than words and signatures on paper.”
World leaders speaking in New York today were united in their acknowledgement of the urgency to act on climate change, calling for scaled up actions, saying political will was never stronger. Leaders also committed to speedy national processes to ratify or approve the agreement.
The Paris Agreement will remain open for signatures for one year, until 21 April 2017. The agreement will enter into force only after 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions ratify the agreement. UN climate negotiators will meet next month in Bonn, Germany to start laying the groundwork for operationalising the agreement.
--- ends---
For further information, contact:
Mandy Jean Woods / @MandyJeanWoods  / +27 72 393 0027
Samantha Smith  / @pandaclimate / +47 450 22 149
About WWF - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
Connect with us:
Twitter | Facebook | Read our Blog | Visit our website | YouTube
COP21 París
© Shutterstock