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Saturday, September 3, 2016

China and USA formally commit to Paris Climate Accord. 

 A day ahead of the G-20 meeting in Hanzhou, the world's two biggest emitters, China and the United States formally joined the Paris Agreement. At a ceremony held on Saturday morning, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the documents certifying that the two countries had taken the necessary steps to join the Paris Agreement to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. 

With the world's two big emitters now formally parties to the Paris Agreement, the attention will shift to the countries like India, the third biggest global emitter of man-made emissions. Together, the US and China account for 38 percent of global carbon dioxide pollution. The two major emitters formally joining the global accord marks "a significant contribution towards the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement". 

The global climate accord adopted by 195 countries in December 2015 will enter into force when at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions join the agreement. As of Saturday, 26 countries representing 39.06 percent of global emissions have joined the agreement, making the possibility of the Paris Agreement coming into force by end of the year within reach. Sources close to the development have indicated that an entry into force may be difficult without India's participation. 

 This will require other major emitters such as India, accounting for 4.10 percent of global carbon dioxide pollution, to join soon. Both President Obama and President Xi will take the opportunity accorded by the G-20 summit to impress on the major economies to formally join the accord by the end of the year. 

"This is not a fight that any one country, no matter how powerful, can take alone. Some day we may see this as the moment that we finally decided to save our planet," President Obama said at the ceremony. Among the G-20 member, Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico have committed to join the Agreement this year. Brazil, accounting for 2.48 per cent of global carbon pollution, completed the domestic legislative process for ratifying the agreement, and is expected to be the first advanced developing economy to formally join the accord. 

India has reaffirmed its committed to join the Agreement soon and is undertaking the process required to meet this objective. China's President Xi hoped that hoped other countries would follow and join the Agreement, and work together to meet the targets to slow down increase in global temperatures and the tackle the impacts of climate change. "When the old path no longer takes us far, we should turn to innovation," he said. 

 Both the US and China had announced earlier this year their intention to formally join the Paris Agreement in 2016, the two big emitters hope that the formal submission of the documents will create a momentum and give other countries, particularly the major emitters, the necessary impetus to move ahead to formalise their participation in Paris Agreement. 

"Our two nations are the world's largest economies - and its largest greenhouse gas emitters; as we have seen in the past, when we come together to take action on climate, it moves the needle in a way that no two other nations can accomplish," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in statement.

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