UNITED NATIONS–An additional 30 countries from around the world completed the ratification process for the Paris Agreement today, including AOSIS members, Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Dominica, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Singapore.
That brings the count to 60 countries comprising about 48 percent of total global emissions. 24 AOSIS members have now ratified, by far the most of any group. To enter into force 55 countries representing 55 percent of emissions must complete the ratification process. Many veterans of international climate negotiations have all but guaranteed the agreement will take effect this year.
“Small islands have led the Paris Agreement ratification process from the start and we represent more than a third of the countries that have ratified so far,“ said Dr. Mohamed Asim, Foreign Minister of the Maldives. “We are a hairbreadth’s away from the agreement taking effect this year and I will redouble my effort to bring us over the line so we can turn our full attention to implementation.”
AOSIS has been working to encourage the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement, recognizing the rare political momentum climate change action enjoys around the world. That the first international treaty committing nearly all nations to reducing the emissions responsible for climate change within a year of its creation is evidence of this, but history has shown that such support can be fickle. The world has stood on the verge of collective action to address climate change before only to see the opportunity slip away.
AOSIS members are particular sensitive of the need to accelerate efforts to cut emissions and help communities adapt to climate impacts that can no longer be avoided. A series of record tropical storms and the longest running and most damaging coral bleaching event ever devastated small islands across the tropical belt in 2015 and 2016.
In fact, scientists have shown that the Paris Agreement alone is well short of the level of action needed to avert even worse impacts. All the more reason to send an unambiguous signal to the world that the Paris Agreement is rolling ahead and ushering in a new Clean Energy Age along the way.
“This is a very encouraging start, but we call on all countries to join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. Climate change is a truly international problem and solving it requires all of us to do our part,” Asim said.