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Paris Climate Accords Can Now Go Into Effect

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On October 5, the Paris climate accords reached an historic milestone – the required minimum of 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions formally “joined” (approved) the pact that is designed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The United States and China – which together represent 40 percent of global emissions – formally joined the accords during the September 2016 G20 Summit in China.President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon exchange greetings at the conclusion of a climate event at West Lake State House in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 3, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The World Resources Institute explains that the Paris accords, like most international agreements, must go through a three-stage process – adoption, signing and joining – before they can take effect. The Paris accords will officially go into effect November 4, 30 days after meeting the 55-country/55 percent requirement.

“If we follow through on the commitments this agreement embodies, history will judge it as a turning point for our planet,” President Obama said from the White House Rose Garden on October 5 

According to a statement by The Climate Reality Project headlined “The Paris Agreement is Officially a Done Deal,” the accords are “the world’s first truly global climate agreement” and, “for the first time in history,” provide world leaders with “a framework to reduce emissions and tackle rising temperatures planet-wide.” Echoing President Obama, the statement added: “Now it’s up to us to make sure they live up to their commitments and take action.”

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