“Between zero and sum” — The Paris Agreement opens for signature

“Between zero and sum” — The Paris Agreement opens for signature

logo-COP“…We're either all losers or we all can be winners. But we are going to have to decide between zero and sum. We're going to have to decide between zero benefit for all or living life as the sum of all of us. We've done it once. We can do it again.”

- Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) TED Talk: The inside story of the Paris Climate Agreement)

Recap

On 22 April 2016, the Paris Agreement will open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York in a day-long high-level ceremony.

The Paris Agreement is the culmination of the UNFCCC COP21 climate talks held at the end of 2015. It represents the first-ever legally binding climate change agreement between 195 countries (or ‘States’) to limit global warming below 2°C, effective from 2020.

For a summary of the UNFCCC, COP21 and the Paris Agreement, see our previous posts: COP 21: The weight of great expectations (Week One) and Great expectations met? — COP 21 Paris (The Agreement and Aftermath).

Sign on the dotted line

The Paris Agreement will be open for signature from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017. A record number of countries are anticipated to attend the signature ceremony, and to commit their governments to delivering the goals pledged in the Agreement text.

This is where things really get serious. Each country must now actually sign and join the Paris Agreement for it to become operational and have legal teeth. Article 21 states it will enter into force thirty

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