Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

EU Nations Advance on Fast-Track Approval of Paris Climate Deal

  • ‘No strong opposition’ among national envoys, EU officials say
  • Countries to draft declaration for Sept. 30 special meeting

European Union member states expressed “no strong opposition” to a plan for fast-track approval of the global climate accord next month, boosting the chances that the 28-nation bloc could achieve a symbolic triumph by triggering entry into force of the historic accord.

Leaders of the EU, which seeks to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, last week promised a quick approval by the bloc of the climate agreement that was reached by more than 190 nations in Paris in December.

Ambassadors representing national governments on Wednesday agreed to continue talks next week on drafting a declaration that environment ministers could adopt at their extraordinary meeting scheduled for Sept. 30, according to two EU officials with knowledge of the meeting in Brussels. The ministerial statement would address concerns by some member states by highlighting the special circumstances of the union-level ratification, which would occur before most EU nations finish their domestic approval procedures, said the officials.

Under a scenario sketched by the Slovak presidency of the EU, the bloc could finalize the union-level approval of the Paris climate agreement at the beginning of next month. The special ministerial meeting, where decisions will be taken unanimously, would be followed by a plenary vote of the European Parliament at its Oct. 3-6 session in Strasbourg, France. The final stage would be a formal sign-off by national governments before Oct. 7. The domestic ratification procedures in many countries will continue afterward.

Click here for a QuickTake on how the climate pact overcame years of finger-pointing

The date is important because the climate deal will be enacted 30 days after the ratification requirements have been met. If they are reached by Oct. 7, the first meeting of the parties to the agreement, known in the climate jargon as CMA, could take place during the next annual United Nations climate conference, scheduled to start in Morocco on Nov. 7.

The Paris deal, the most sweeping agreement to combat global warming to date, needs to be ratified by at least 55 parties accounting for 55 percent of global emissions to take effect. So far 60 parties responsible for 47.6 percent of pollution have approved the accord, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The EU is under increasing pressure to formally join the deal after U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping ratified it on Sept. 3. Those two countries are responsible for around 38 percent of global emissions. The ratification by the EU, which accounts for around 12 percent, could meet the 55 percent threshold.

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