Paris Climate Deal Moves Toward Reality as 31 More Nations Join

  • Nations accounting for 48 percent of emissions have joined
  • Fighting climate change may cost $12.1 trillion over 25 years

Thirty-one more nations joined the Paris climate accord putting the landmark effort to reduce global warming on pace to take effect this year.

Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico were among the countries that joined the agreement during a ceremony Wednesday at the United Nations in New York, bringing the total to 60 nations representing 48 percent of global emissions. It will take effect when countries representing at least 55 percent of emissions join.

In a bid to avert the worst impacts of climate change, the agreement calls for voluntary measures to reduce fossil-fuel emissions at an estimated cost of $12.1 trillion over the next 25 years, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It will require titanic shifts in how societies generate electricity, fuel vehicles and run factories, in large part by shifting to renewable energy. The 195 countries that have pledged to join include rich and poor nations alike.

“We are working together to bring that agreement into force as quickly as possible,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at an ocean protection summit in Washington last week. Kerry said he’s optimistic the accord would take force by the end of the year.

Largest Emitters

The world’s two largest emitters, the U.S. and China, joined earlier this month while members of the European Union said Wednesday that they would move forward with plans to fast-track approval next month. U.K. Prime Minster Theresa May said her country would ratify the agreement by the end of the year.

Nations have set their own emission targets mostly for 2025 or 2030 and have vowed to increase their ambitions every five years. In addition, the U.S. and other large developed nations have pledged $100 billion annually to help poorer nations meet their targets.

“The global community is rallying behind swift and ambitious action to combat climate change,” Paula Caballero, global director of the World Resources Institutes’s Climate Program, said in a statement.

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