Paris Agreement Ratification Update: Achieved

September 19, 2016, by Patrick Cage

WEDNESDAY, October 5th: The threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement has been achieved.

WEDNESDAY, September 21st: This morning Ban Ki-Moon hosted an event to accelerate the Paris Agreement’s entry into force as part of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. After the dust settled, the Paris Agreement is perched on the edge of activating any day now.

The event began by commending governments, on a country-by-country basis, that had already ratified or agreed to the Paris Agreement. It followed with one country after another depositing new instruments of ratification. Among those major emitters depositing were Brazil (2.48% of global emissions), Thailand (0.64%), Mexico (1.70%), and Argentina (0.89%). When the event ended, 60 countries had ratified the Paris Agreement, meeting one of the two thresholds for entry into force. These 60 countries together represent 47.5% of global emissions, leaving just 7.5% remaining until the 55% threshold is met, triggering the Paris Agreement.

The event concluded with video messages from a number of countries including the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, and Kazakhstan with pledges to ratify in 2016, bringing the total global emissions covered up to 53.9% according to WRI’s Paris Agreement Tracker. If Japan is planning to ratify, as reported by ClimateHome, then the Paris Agreement will leap over the 55% threshold, to 57.6%.

This morning’s high-level event closed with Ban Ki-Moon stating, “I am confident that by the time I leave office this year, the ‪Paris Agreement will have entered into force.” With this comment and the auspicious numbers, it seems highly likely the Paris Agreement will meet both thresholds by October 7.

Even if it’s not across the line yet, it seems a safe call:  the Paris Agreement will enter into force in time for COP22 in Marrakech.

MONDAY, September 19th:  It looks more and more likely that the Paris Agreement will enter into force in 2016, meeting the required double threshold: 55 countries and 55% of global emissions required.

Based on the reporting of ClimateHome; Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Mexico are all moving to ratify the Paris Agreement. Together, would place us in the home stretch with some 33 countries and 48.07% global emissions covered.

Entry into force determines the workplan for the next several years at the UNFCCC COPs. Early entry into force is significant for the signals that it sends to governments, the private sector, and the whole global community. A 2016 entry into force indicates that momentum is ramping up for climate action beyond business-as-usual.

The standing question is whether or not the Paris Agreement will enter into force in time for COP22 in Marrakech, beginning November 7. If the thresholds are met by 30 days before the COP, on October 7, then the first CMA (the Conference of the Parties… to the Paris Agreement) will be held at COP22. This will mean that governments and the UNFCCC secretariat will need to move quickly to prepare. And if the agreement enters into force in 2016, but after October 7, then the first CMA will be held at COP23 in 2017.

This Wednesday, September 21, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is convening a high-level event in New York designed to get the Paris Agreement over the line in time for Marrakech. It will require participation by a few more large emitters, such as Canada, South Korea, South Africa, or large South American countries, and about two dozen smaller countries to trigger the Agreement’s entry into force before Marrakech. (Watch @ParisAgreement as we Live Tweet this event.)

Even if the Agreement does meet the thresholds this Wednesday, a handful of European Union countries, led by Slovakia, Germany, and France, is moving to fast-track approval by all 28 European Union member states before the 7th of October, with an extraordinary session called for September 30. While the timeline is extremely ambitious, the ratification of the EU would immediately launch the Agreement’s entry into force, with 28 states and over 12% global emissions.

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