175 Countries Sign Paris Climate Change Agreement on Earth Day 2016

India signed the historic Paris climate agreement here along with more than 175 nations at the UN headquarters in New York on 22nd April 2016, Friday. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar signed the agreement on behalf of India. Friday was the first day of the signing ceremony of the historic global deal which was hailed as an environment policy milestone in December after years of diplomatic deadlock.

The Head of the Global Climate and Energy Initiative for the World Wildlife Fund Samantha Smith said that, “The fact that so many countries signed the agreement means we are making history, and that’s good. But we just had the hottest March ever, and scientists say 2016 will probably be the warmest year on record, again.”

Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony
Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a opening speech that, “This is a moment in history. The era of consumption without consequences is over. Today you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises. We are in a race against time.” The agreement signing ceremony was held on Earth Day 2016. This ceremony was attended by heads of Government, Ministers, Corporate Leaders and Artists.

This signature ceremony set the record for the most countries to sign an international agreement on one day. Its 175 nations were signed on one day. Previously it was set in 1982 when 119 countries were signed the Law of the Sea Convention.

The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally joined it, a process initially expected to take until 2020. India seeks to add 100 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, 60 gigawatts of wind power, 10 gigawatts of biomass and five gigawatts of hydro projects.

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said that, “The level of development we have reached is far, still the hard reality is we have a lot of distance to cover. We need more housing, power, toilets, roads and factories. Therefore our requirements of fuel is certainly going to increase. Notwithstanding that our own standards of protecting the environment are very rigid.”

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