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175 countries sign landmark Paris deal on climate change

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UNITED NATIONS — Leaders from 175 nations, including Nepal, signed the Paris Arrangement on environmental change Friday, a key forward for the landmark deal, which could potentially enter into force years ahead of schedule.

In the wake of signing, countries should formally endorse the Paris Agreement through their domestic procedures.

The United Nations says 15 countries, several of them small island states under threat from rising seas, did that Friday by depositing their instruments of ratification.

“We are in a race against time,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering. “The era of consumption without consequences is over.”

Ban warned that the work ahead will be enormously expensive. “Far more than $100 billion — indeed, trillions of dollars — is needed to realize a global clean-energy economy,” he said.

The Signature Ceremony was followed by two parallel sessions for national statements of the State Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

DPM called the Paris Agreement ‘a beacon of hope for safe and shared destiny of humanity’, while mentioning that as a mountainous country in which the lives and livelihoods of millions of people are directly affected by the climate change.

He further said that the Agreement was a living instrument meant for serious implementation in coherence with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015.

“We have high hopes on our collective strength of global efforts, understanding, cooperation, partnership and support to combat the challenges and fulfill our ambition”, he added.

China, the world’s top carbon emitter, announced it will ‘finalize domestic procedures’ to ratify the Paris Agreement before the Group of 20 summit in China in September.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States “absolutely intends to join” the agreement this year. The world is watching anxiously: Analysts say that if the agreement enters into force before President Barack Obama leaves office in January, it would be more complicated for his successor to withdraw from the deal because it would take four years to do so under the agreement’s rules.

China’s climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said his government hopes the United States will join the climate agreement ‘as soon as possible.’

French President Francois Hollande, the first to sign the agreement, said Friday he will ask parliament to ratify it by this summer. France’s environment minister is in charge of global climate negotiations. “There is no turning back now,” Hollande told the gathering.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced that his country would ratify the agreement this year.

The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined it.

Other countries that said Friday they intend to join the agreement this year include Mexico and Australia.

Countries that have not yet indicated they would sign the agreement Friday include some of the world’s largest oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, the World Resources Institute said.

The Paris Agreement, the world’s response to hotter temperatures, rising seas and other impacts of climate change, was reached in December as a major breakthrough in UN climate negotiations, which for years were slowed by disputes between rich and poor countries over who should do what.

Under the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The targets are not legally binding, but countries must update them every five years.

As the Paris Agreement moves forward, there is some good news. Global energy emissions, the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gases, were flat last year even though the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency.

Friday was chosen for the signing ceremony because it is Earth Day.

With Agencies inputs

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Govt to present its policies and programmes Monday

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KATHMANDU — The government is preparing to present its policies and programs for the fiscal year 2018/19 at the Federal Parliament on Monday.

According to Joint Spokesperson at the Federal Parliament Secretariat Keshav Aryal, all preparations are over for the release of the government policies and programs to be made by the President Bidya Devi Bhandari from New Baneshwor-based Federal Parliament Building at 4:00 pm Monday.

President Bhandari would unveil the government policies and programs for the first time in the joint meeting of the Federal Parliament after the promulgation of the new constitution.

As per the constitution, the President can address any of the House meeting or the joint meeting of the Federal Parliaments and summon the lawmakers for their presence.

Vice President, top leaders of different political parties, high-ranking government officials, chiefs of the constitutional bodies, chiefs of the security bodies and chiefs of the diplomatic missions in Nepal are invited for the program.

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