EU Reaches Deal for Fast-Track Approval of Paris Climate Accord

  • Europe’s environment ministers support quick ratification
  • European Parliament scheduled to vote on deal next week

European Union nations agreed to a fast-track ratification by the 28-member bloc of the Paris climate agreement, a step that could enable the most sweeping accord to combat global warming to come into force next month.

The European Parliament, whose consent is needed to finalize the fast approval procedure, is scheduled to hold a plenary vote on Oct. 4 in Strasbourg, France. Slovakia, the holder of the rotating presidency of the EU in the second half of this year, aims for the bloc to finalize the union-level approval by Oct. 7, a date that matters because the climate deal will be enacted 30 days after its ratification requirements have been met.

If the approval criteria -- ratification by at least 55 parties accounting for 55 percent of global emissions -- are reached at the beginning of next month, the first meeting of the parties to the agreement could take place during the next annual United Nations climate conference, scheduled to start on Nov. 7. So far 61 parties responsible for almost 48 percent of pollution have approved the accord. EU members account for 12 percent of pollution.

The EU, which wants to lead the global fight against climate change, has come under increasing pressure to formally join the deal after U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping ratified it on Sept. 3. India plans to approve the agreement on Oct. 2.

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