The United States and China announced that they would sign the Paris climate accord negotiated last year on the first day it is open for signatures, April 22, at a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
“The world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters issued a joint presidential statement in which they called on other countries to sign the accord ‘with a view to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible,’” Reuters reports.
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India, the world’s second most-populous country, whose emissions are rising fast, said it would also sign the Paris accord on its first day.
Nearly 200 countries agreed in early December to take measures to limit global greenhouse emissions to levels aimed at limiting average global warming to less than 2.0ºC above pre-industrial temperatures. They also expressed an aspiration for even deeper cuts to keep warming with 1.5ºC.
The ceremonial signing in New York is only the start of bringing the agreement into force, however. That will not happen until at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of global emissions, have formally ratified and acceded to the accord.