By Stacey Leasca
On Wednesday, 31 countries, including Argentina, Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico officially joined the Paris Agreement, an accord committing nations to staving off global warming at no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. These nations now join the 30 others in representing nearly 48 percent of global emissions. But they aren’t done yet.
The agreement has closed its threshold of 55 countries, however, it still needs to hit one more important number: 55 percent.
— COP22 (@COP22) September 21, 2016
For the Paris Agreement to enter into force, 55 percent of global emissions must also be represented, meaning a mere 7 percent stands between us and climate action.
“The world has banded together around a zero-carbon, climate-resilient future, pushing us much closer to bringing the Paris Agreement into full effect,” Paula Caballero, Global Director at the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. She added:
“With 31 more countries joining, it is abundantly clear that support for the Paris Agreement is unwavering. The global community is rallying behind swift and ambitious action to combat climate change. The fact that Paris Agreement will likely enter into force this year took everyone by surprise. This rapid pace reflects a spirit of cooperation rarely seen on a global scale.”
The rapid pace Caballero speaks of is nearly unheard of in the political world; however as The New York Times notes, one man has helped push the process along faster than any other: Donald Trump.
— Climasphere (@climasphere) September 21, 2016
The Republican presidential candidate has vowed to pull the United States out of the deal if elected. But, the Times reports that if the Paris Agreement comes into legal force before the presidential inauguration, it would take four years for any U.S. president to legally withdraw from the deal under the accord’s rules.
On Tuesday, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel Laureates, came together in an open letter to condemn Trump’s promise to withdraw. The letter reads in part:
“Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. Fossil fuels powered the Industrial Revolution. But the burning of oil, coal, and gas also caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This increase in greenhouse gases is changing Earth’s climate. … The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.”
It is now more likely than ever that the Paris Agreement will come into full legal force before the next U.N. climate conference, which starts November 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.
“I’m ever more confident that the Paris Agreement will enter into force this year,” U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, told The Guardian. “What once seemed impossible now seems inevitable. When this year ends, I hope we can all look back with pride knowing that we seized the opportunity to protect our common home.”
- Originally appeared at GOOD.is