The next significant step toward addressing climate change took
place on April 22, 2016 in New York, when 175 nations signed the
Paris Climate Pact following the agreement reached in Paris in
December of last year. The agreement will take effect once at least
55 nations representing at least 55 percent of global emissions
formally ratify the accord. Following the New York signing, the
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed confidence
that this could occur much sooner than predicted, possibly as early
as November 2016 when the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework on Conventional Climate
Change ("UNFCCC") is held in Morocco.
At least 16 nations have already ratified the agreement, with at
least 20 further commitments already in place to ratify by the end
of this year. Ratification by the U.S., China, and the European
Union, which have all committed to joining the deal, will be
instrumental in taking the signatory parties to above the 55
percent emissions threshold. Until then, the signatories are bound
not to take actions that could undermine the agreement
The Paris agreement aims at keeping global temperature rise well
below 2ºC and to make efforts to keep it to 1.5ºC,
compared to pre-industrial levels. Signatory countries, upon
ratification, will have an obligation to take measures to reduce
their emissions. This will involve taking steps to put in place
infrastructure to transform themselves from high- to low-carbon
economies. A review process will occur every five years to take
stock and reconsider targets on a more ambitious basis. Intrinsic
to this goal is that countries' progress will be tracked to
ensure transparency and accountability.
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A new Spanish Law on air pollution has been published and is
likely to lead to increasingly strict controls on air emissions
for many sectors.
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