Obama hails Paris Agreement as it crosses threshold for implementation

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the Paris Agreement

"The speed with which the global community worked to bring the Paris Agreement into force demonstrates unprecedented political momentum for climate action and bodes well for us moving forward", said Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives environment minister.

The Paris Agreement requires all nations to cut emissions enough to limit the global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius, measured against climate records dating back to the Industrial Revolution.

In total, 73 countries out of 195 have ratified the agreement, according to the United Nations website.

The European Parliament voted Tuesday to ratify the landmark Paris climate accord, paving the way for the worldwide plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions to become binding as soon as the end of this week. The deal is meant to limit the rise in global average temperatures and reduce countries' emissions of pollutants that contribute to planetary warming. "And, we must continue to work at all levels - global, national, cities and communities - to build the political will for this transformation".

In a White House Rose Garden announcement, Mr. Obama said that the new agreement "will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change".

Now, the Paris Agreement alone will not solve the climate crisis.

For the climate change agreement to enter into force, it required the ratification of at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But because the agreement allows each country to submit a plan tailored to their national economy's needs and abilities, it can be hard to compare the promises made by different nations.

The full ratification of the Paris Agreement as early as next month and its goal of delivering a net zero emission economy this century surpasses numerous early expectations for the deal.

But Greenpeace said it was time for Australia to follow the lead of countries such as China and prove it's serious about climate change. The EU had previously estimated it would not be able to ratify the agreement until 2017, according to Scientific American. India, which accounts for 4.3 percent of the world's emissions, ratified the deal on Sunday, but the European Union ratification will finally push the agreement over the edge.

The Paris climate deal is entering into force much faster than previous deals such as the Kyoto Protocol in the 1990s, which took 7 years to get from drafting to final enactment, says Eliza Northrop, an worldwide environmental lawyer at the World Resources Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports the accord, while Republican Donald Trump opposes it. Officially, the Paris Agreement will come into effect one month after passing this threshold.

"This is our chance to set us on course towards a safer, more sustainable and more just future for all on a healthy planet", UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said shortly before the milestone.

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