India ratifies climate deal at UN

NATIONS: India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, on Sunday  ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a major boost to the deal which appeared tantalisingly close to enter into force by the end of this year.

Permanent representative to the UN ambassador Syed Akbaruddin handed over the instrument of ratification signed by President Pranab Mukherjee, to Santiago Villalpando, the head of the treaties division at the UN, at a special ceremony here attended by top UN officials and senior diplomats to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 147th birth anniversary.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded India’s “climate leadership”, saying India’s ratification of the Paris climate change agreement moves the world an “important step closer” toward achieving the goal of entering the landmark deal into force this year.

In his message for the International Day of Non-violence, marked every year on Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Ban said there is no better way to commemorate Gandhi and his legacy for people and the planet than with India submitting its instrument of ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change.

He called on all countries to complete their domestic processes for ratification and also strive in all activities to achieve progress through non-violence.

The UN chief said the commitment to sustainable living that Gandhi emphasised on is reflected in a “momentous way” as India is depositing its instrument of ratification to the agreement.

“India keeps its promise. On Gandhiji’s birth anniversary, we deposit the instrument of ratification of Paris agreement on climate change,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

With India stressing on the importance of climate justice, its goal will be that “climate justice ends are also served” once the treaty comes into force, Akbaruddin said.

The ratification by India, which has a population of over 1.2 billion, is expected to give momentum to the implementation of measures at the international level to control global warming by limiting greenhouse gases.

The ratification formalises pledges made by each country, including India, to take actions to curb or lower greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards and try to keep the rise in average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India, the world’s third biggest carbon emitter after China and the US which are responsible for around 40 per cent of the global carbon emissions, accounts for 4.1 per cent of global emissions.

Last month, the US and China had formally joined the Paris agreement, which was adopted by 195 parties to the UN framework convention on climate change last December in Paris.

The pact will come into force after it has been ratified by at least 55 countries which account for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. With India’s move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 per cent of emissions have now ratified the accord.

Adopted in Paris by the 195 parties to the UN convention on climate change at a conference known as COP21 last December, the agreement was signed in New York on 22 April this year by 175 countries.

A total of 191 countries have signed the  agreement so far.

However, India decided to ratify the agreement “in the context” of its national laws, availability of means of implementation and “its own assessment” of global commitment to combating climate change.

The Union cabinet had given its nod to ratifying the Paris climate deal on September 28, days after Modi announced this at BJP’s national council meet in Kozhikode.

The move is expected to give momentum to the implementation of measures at the international level to control global warming.

China and the US jointly ratifying the Paris climate change deal has given hope that the landmark accord may come into effect by the end of this year.