On “Earth Day” 22 April some 175 national delegates met in New York to officially sign up to the climate targets agreed in principle at COP21 in Paris last December.
A further 15 of those countries moved to the next stage and submitted “instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval”.
The signings mark an important step in implementing the “ambitious and balanced” climate deal, which includes a “legally-binding” target to keep global warming “well below 2C”.
The final stage in the process is ratification by national parliaments and the ratification signatures of at least 55 countries – representing more than 55% of global carbon emissions – are required for the deal to formally apply from 2020.
The 175 countries that have signed and are now expected to ratify the Agreement representing around 93% of global emissions.
In a surprise announcement, China took to the stage to confirm that it will go ahead and ratify the Agreement ahead of G20 in September this year. The US is also expected to ratify this year. China and the US – responsible for almost 40% of global emissions.
Meanwhile, France – which was the first country to sign today – aims to ratify the Agreement by this summer, with expectations that the European Union will follow suit by the end of the year.