“Powerful momentum" for climate change deal

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) with China's President Xi Jinping (centre) and United States President Barack Obama at a climate change event in Hangzhou, China, on 3 September 2016. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The ratification by the United States and China of an internationally agreed climate change agreement will provide a "powerful momentum" towards bringing the deal into force, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon made the comment shortly after the presidents of the US and China announced they had ratified the Paris Agreement the world's first comprehensive climate deal.

Daniel Dickinson reports

The Paris Agreement will only come into force legally once it is ratified by at least 55 countries, which between them produce 55 per cent of global carbon emissions.

The US and China are responsible together for 40 per cent of the world's emissions, which are the driving force behind climate change and rising temperatures.

The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon spoke after receiving the legal documents of ratification from the US President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping ahead of the start of the G20 summit in Hangzhou.

"Now, by formally joining the Paris Agreement, you have added powerful momentum to the drive for the Agreement to enter into force this year. With China and the United States making this historic step, we now have 26 countries who have ratified and 39 per cent of global emissions accounted for, to be exact." 
  
Ratifications from another 29 countries representing 16 per cent of global emissions are needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force.

It's hoped that will happen before the end of the year.

The key targets of the agreement are to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius and to provide US$100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’26″

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