Paris Agreement on climate change takes effect
For the first time in history, governments around the world have agreed to legally binding limits on global temperature rises as the Paris Agreement (PDF) on climate change became effective on Nov. 4. All governments that have ratified the accord are now legally obligated to cap global warming levels at 2 C above pre-industrial levels—regarded as a limit of safety by scientists. But environmentalists and other groups have said the agreement may not be enough. According to Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth: "The Paris agreement is a major step in the right direction, but it falls a long way short of the giant leap needed to tackle climate change. Far tougher action is needed to rapidly slash emissions." Greenpeace also agreed that while the agreement is a major step forward, it needs stronger force. Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, further pointed out that governments would need to take measures to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable countries get adequate financing to tackle climate change problems..
As of right now, 97 of the 197 countries of the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change—including the US, India, China and the EU nations—have ratified, and are thereby legally bound by, the agreement. Governments are expected to meet in Morocco next week under the auspices of the UN to discuss implementation strategies for the agreement. UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa and Morocco Minister of Foreign Affairs Salaheddine Mezouar issued a joint statement: "Humanity will look back on 4 November 2016 as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future"
From Jurist, Nov. 4. Used with permission.