The landmark Paris agreement on climate change will enter into force in 30 days, after the number of countries ratifying the accord surpassed a key threshold on Wednesday.
U.N. Spokesman Farhan Haq said the EU, Canada and Nepal are all expected to deposit their instruments of ratification over the course of the day.
“By the end of the day, we expect the Paris agreement on climate change to have crossed the second and final threshold needed for it to enter into force,” Haq said.
The deal takes effect 30 days after 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions, have adopted it. Sixty-two countries had done so as of Tuesday but they accounted only for about 52 per cent of emissions.
“The Secretary-General has been very encouraged by the tremendous positive support from a broad coalition of countries from the largest emitters to the small island developing states to bring the Paris agreement to life as soon as possible,” Haq said.
With the addition of Nepal, Canada and the seven EU countries that have so far ratified the deal, the countries now account for 58.7 per cent of emissions.
“It’s clearly a momentous moment in terms of global action on climate change,” said David Waskow, international climate director at World Resources Institute. “This has been much more rapid than anticipated and demonstrates political support for the agreement.”
The Paris agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
While the targets in the agreement are not legally binding, the treaty does require countries to report on emissions and their progress on reaching the goals in the national climate plans they submitted to the U.N. The countries are also required to maintain those plans, update them every five years and to pursue measures to implement their stated goals.
International momentum had been building to ensure that the deal could enter force by the next U.N. climate conference, which starts Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.