Momentum Builds for Paris Agreement as US, India and France Set to Ratify Climate Deal 'As Soon As Possible'

PM Narendra Modi meets US president Barack Obama on the sidelines of COP21 in Paris

India has joined the US in pledging to ratify the Paris Agreement “as soon as possible this year” following talks on Tuesday in the White House between the countries’ leaders.

This comes as France is set become the first G7 and G20 nation to ratify the climate deal as the country’s senate votes today on a ratification bill.

Many hope these moves will encourage other rich nations to follow suit in order to bring the Paris Agreement into effect sooner than originally intended.

Joining the climate deal through ratification is the next step after nations sign the Paris Agreement. Ratification brings the deal one step closing to becoming a commitment that countries must adhere to.

Once at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of carbon emissions join the treaty it comes into effect. And given the size of the US and India’s populations and economies, the Tuesday meeting between India’s President Modi and President Obama is a big step towards that.

The move also gives a major boost to Obama’s effort to bring the deal into force before he leaves office next January.

Countries to Ratify the Deal

India and the US are joined by oil giant Nigeria which has also this week pledged to ratify the Paris Agreement in September. In April, China announced during the Paris signing ceremony that it intends to ratify the deal by the end of the year.

And, should France’s senate vote to ratify the climate deal as expected today, the bill will then become law as soon as President Francois Hollande formally enacts it within the next 15 days.

However, France is just one step in moving the EU to ratify the deal. Some EU member states are reluctant for the EU to join before national targets are set, meaning it may be 2017 or 2018 before the EU can adopt the agreement.

The UK has not said when it will ratify the deal. When asked by Shadow climate minister Barry Gardiner, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said on 7 June: “The UK will ratify the Paris Agreement together with the EU and Member States as soon as possible.

The Commission is planning to publish a proposal on EU and Member States ratification alongside legislative proposals for the Non-Traded Sector of the EU2030 Framework this summer.”

Modi and Obama’s Climate Plans

Yesterday’s meeting between Modi and Obama also saw the two leaders discuss a series of other climate issues including super-greenhouse gases hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and aviation.

The pair agreed funding for developing countries to help phase-down emissions, something India had demanded at HFC negotiations in Dubai before the Paris Conference.

They will also seek to resolve the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from air travel at a UN aviation assembly in September where it is expected a carbon emissions mitigation strategy will be adopted by member states. However, this plan, which proposes “carbon-neutral growth” by offsetting emissions from 2020, has been opposed by over 80 environmental NGO’s.

Photo: Narendra Modi via Flickr