- Some 74 nations representing almost 59% of global emissions have signed the United Nations Paris climate accord, meaning the effort to reduce the impacts of global warming will go into effect on Nov. 4.
- To come into force, the agreement required 55 nations to ratify, representing 55% of emissions.
- The United States and China ratified the agreement last month; this week, the European Union and 10 other countries deposited their ratification documents and pushed the treaty past the threshold.
A month after the U.S. ratified the Paris agreement, President Obama applauded the news that treaty would come into force, calling it a "turning point for the planet." But in an address at the White House, the President warned there is more work to do.
“The Paris agreement alone will not solve the climate crisis,” Obama said. “Even if we meet every target embodied in the agreement, we’ll only get to part of where we need to go. But make no mistake, this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change.”
The Paris climate accord, signed by almost 200 nations last year, aims to keep the impact of climate change below 2 degrees Celsius. For the United States, that will mean cutting emissions 26% by 2025. The ratification, along with other climate actions being taken in the United States, are helping set the direction electric utilities are taking in meeting customer needs with cleaner energy.
The European Union ratified the agreement earlier this week, representing 12% of global emissions. Following that decision, 10 other countries ratified and pushed the global compact past required supports. Those nations included Austria, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, Portugal and Slovakia.
Power plants produce the largest share of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, about 30% of air pollution in 2015. The deal is expected to give investors an indication of where they should invest in a decarbonizing world.
While Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she supports the accord, Republican Donald Trump is opposed to the Paris agreement and other carbon-cutting efforts in the United States.
Obama has said the treaty will be successful in part due to investments the United States has made to "allow for incredible innovation in clean energy, and the strong, principled diplomacy over the course of years that we were able to see pay off in the Paris Agreement."