Nations seek rapid ratification of Paris climate deal, four-year lock

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 1:23 PM

More than one hundred thirty nations with sixty leaders including French President Francois Hollande are due to sign December'south pact at a U. N. ceremony in NY on April twenty-two, the most ever for a U.

Many nations are pushing for swift ratification of a Paris agreement to unhurried climate modify and lock it in space for four years before a modify in the White House following year that might bring a weakening of Washington'south long-term commitment.

More than one hundred thirty nations with sixty leaders including French President Francois Hollande are due to sign December'south pact at a U. N. ceremony in NY on April twenty-two, the most ever for a U. N. agreement on an opening day, the United Nations said.

Both China and the United States, the world'south top emitters accounting together for thirty-eight % of emissions, have promised to sign then. U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend.

But signing is only a step in a tortuous U. N. process for the deal to enter into force, which requires formal approval by at least fifty-five nations representing fifty-five % of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

In many countries, that needs a parliamentary vote.

Some experts predict the fifty-five % thresholds can be reached this year, before President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017.

But many developing nations wish the Paris agreement to move forward as rapidly as possible on ratification, partly to lock in the United States if Republican candidates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who don't think that climate modify is man-made, win the U. S. presidency.

Once the Paris agreement enters into force, a little-noted Article twenty-eight says any nation wanting to withdraw will first have to wait four years - the length of a U. S. presidential term.

"I'd expect non-compliance, but not necessarily a formal withdrawal," below a Republican president, said Oliver Geden, of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

And many nations look self-interest in signing up.

"Emotional to spotless energy is in every country'south interest and I'm confident that climate action is an historic inevitability," Maldives Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim, chair of the Alliance of Tiny Island States, told Reuters.

NICARAGUA

All one hundred ninety-five nations in Paris agreed the deal except Nicaragua, which objected that it demanded too tiny of the rich. Some were reluctant such as OPEC oil producers led by Saudi Arabia.

Still, the agreement could reach fifty-five % of emissions with support from just a handful of countries, for instance China, the United States, Russia, India, Japan and Brazil. The European Union, with a twelve % share, is likely to lag because it first has to share out promised curbs among member states.

Many nations wish to avert a repeat of the U. N.'south previous climate deal, the one thousand nine hundred ninety-seven Kyoto Protocol, which only entered into force in two thousand-fifth after years of disputes between WA and its main allies.

Kyoto dictated cuts in greenhouse gas emissions only for developed nations, unlike the Paris Agreement which involves both wealthy and destitute but lets all countries set national targets.

U. S. President Bill Clinton'south administration signed Kyoto but never submitted it to a hostile Senate for ratification. His successor, Republican President George. W. Bush, stayed out, saying Kyoto would menace U. S. jobs.

Obama says his administration can presently connect the Paris agreement without getting approval from the Senate.

"A lot has changed" since Kyoto, Christiana Figueres, head of the U. N. Climate Modify Secretariat, told Reuters, noting that prices of wind and solar energy have tumbled and scientists are ever more certain that burning fossil fuels causes global warming.

"Much is made by some of the politics in the United States but it seems unthinkable that, whatever political complexion is in the White House ... (they) cannot look the self-evident economic and social benefits" of reducing emissions, she said.

And more countries declare they're suffering heatwaves, desertification, downpours and rising sea levels.

Several assailable nations have already ratified the Paris agreement, even before the signing ceremony, led by Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Maldives.

"My sense is that it (ratification) will move fairly quickly, possibly this year," said Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Any Republican president might seek to undo Obama'south domestic plans to slice emissions by 26-28 % by two thousand twenty-five below two thousand five levels, he said. And Obama'south plans to slice emissions from power plants also face legal challenges.

(Extra reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington, David Stanway in Beijing; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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