United tions, Sept 27: India moved the historic Paris agreement on climate change closer to reality on Monday by announcing that New Delhi would ratify it and submit the document to the United tions on Gandhi Jayanthi. The move was greeted as “great news” by Sierra Club, a major environmental organisation. An official of the group said that it would build momentum for getting enough ratifications for the accord to come into force early.
India’s Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj affirmed at the General Assembly New Delhi’s commitment “to play a leading role in combating climate change” and said it would submit the ratification document on a day rich in symbolism, “the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who epitomised a lifestyle with the smallest carbon footprint”.
For the Paris accord to come into force it needs to be ratified by 55 countries that account for 55 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. When Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a ceremony last Wednesday for countries to submit their ratification documents, 60 countries accounting for 47.5 per cent of the emissions had complied, leaving a 7.5 per cent gap for greenhouse gas output.
When India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases that puts out four per cent of the world’s total emissions ratifies the pact, that gap would have shrunk to 3.5 per cent, bringing the agreement closer to implementation.
“India coming in early is great news,” Steve Herz, the senior attorney for the Sierra Club’s Intertiol Climate Programme, told IANS. “It will build momentum for the ratification and to do it quicker.” When the climate change agreement was made in Paris in 2015, it was expected to take years before it would cross the threshold for coming into effect, but it is almost there in a matter of months, he said. (IANS)