The Paris climate change pact agreed last December in Paris could come into force two years earlier than the originally planned date of 2020, says United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres.
Speaking ahead of the official COP21 signing ceremony in New York, she says that her optimistic predictions follow a series of positive announcements on climate change made by national governments and big businesses.
At the New York event delegates will ratify the agreement to limit global warming well below 2°C above industrial levels. Ms Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) believes an early arrangement could be on the cards and an agreement will be in effect by 2018. She expects more than 130 countries to ink their support for the Agreement which was due to enter into force in 2020.
Figueres’ optimistic predictions about the Paris Agreement reflect a generally positive mood surrounding the future of climate change policy, driven by a series of positive announcements made by national governments and big businesses.
Earlier this month, both the US and China revealed they planned to formally join the Paris Agreement in 2016. The two countries – responsible for 40% of global emissions – released a joint statement agreeing to sign the contract in order to take ‘respective domestic steps’ to approve the deal. That news was announced at the same time as four of the world’s largest tech giants – Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft – collectively warned that any attempts to block a low-carbon transition in the US would prove ‘costly’ to both the global economy and human wellbeing.
But, while the majority of governments and big businesses have seemingly embraced the main elements of the Paris deal, it has recently become apparent that approval may not be forthcoming from every nation. Last month, an influential think tank urged developing countries to boycott next week’s signing ceremony, citing a potential loss in political influence if the deal was signed without sufficient negotiation.
The Third World Network laid-out a five-page briefing implored developing countries ‘not to rush’ when signing the Agreement, warning that countries would lose the political leverage that is ‘critical’ to ensuring that developed countries pull their weight.