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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.

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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.

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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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Boston Dynamics’ robot can open up doors and hold for others to enter

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Secretive robotics firm Boston Dynamics has posted a new video to its YouTube channe on Monday showing off its SpotMini robo-canine, in which he can be seen opening a door all on his own and hold until another enters the door.

In the 45-second video, titled ‘Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand?’ a SpotMini walks over to a door before realizing it can’t get through.

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Another SpotMini quickly comes to his rescue and extends his clawed arm, which he uses to grab the door handle.

The robot then grabs the handle, turns it, and pulls back the door. Using one of its front legs, the robot manages to hold open the door as the claw releases the handle and pens the door fully.

The SpotMini is seen holding open the door as his fellow robo-dog friend then casually walks through the door.

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