The ratification of the Paris Agreement, less than a year after it was approved by 197 countries under the French Presidency at COP21 last December, marks an unprecedented milestone in the global effort to combat climate change.“This is a historical development for our planet, but also a milestone for the energy sector,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. “In the future, we will look back at Wednesday, 5 October, 2016 as the day the major economies of the world, acting together, shifted course.”
To enter into effect, at least 55 countries accounting for 55% or more of global greenhouse gas emissions needed to ratify it. These conditions were met yesterday when the European Union, along with Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia announced their ratification. Together with the ratifications of India, New Zealand and Canada this week, there are now 74 Parties, representing 60% of GHG emissions, which have ratified the Agreement.The leadership of the United States and China played a critical role in spurring such early action, but year after year, European countries have championed the fight against climate change. Collectively, all IEA members played a critical leadership role in this shared effort.
The fact that so many countries were able to come together and approve an agreement of this magnitude in such a short time demonstrates not only the strong commitment to work together to limit global temperature rise, but also a growing sense of urgency. This strong political support and will is essential to support policies that encourage the uptake of low-carbon energy sources, improve energy efficiency and promote new technologies and innovation while maintaining energy security and economic growth.The IEA is ready to provide pragmatic, timely, but decisive policy advice to our 29 member countries, our five association countries, and all countries beyond, to help them reach their goals.