Paris signing ceremony marks milestone in journey towards fossil free future

Paris signing ceremony

Creative Commons: UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto, 2005

As the world’s record warming streak moves into its 11th month, and climate impacts, continue to hit communities, nations will be using Earth Day 2016 to take their first collective step from ambition to action on the global climate deal agreed last December.

In the largest UN signing ceremony to-date, at least 168 nations will sign the historic Paris Agreement in New York this Friday against a backdrop of growing voices calling for a transition to a world powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

These collective calls helped drive the ambitious action agreed upon in Paris, and with 2016 already bringing deadly heatwaves in India, drought in southern Africa, record-breaking cyclones in the Pacific and coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, these actions are only set to get louder.

With leaders reaffirming their own commitment to the transition on Friday, attention will now shift to ensuring they implement and improve the Paris Agreement and urgently move towards a healthier, fairer, more prosperous and fossil free future for all.

Key Points

  • A record-breaking number of countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement this Earth Day. After forging the historic deal in December, more than 168 countries are now expected to formally sign on to the deal in a single day, more than any other international agreement before it. With leaders including French President Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in attendance, the ceremony marks a vital step towards the implementation of the agreement, while some countries – led by vulnerable nations like Fiji and the Marshall Islands – are expected to further accelerate the process by presenting their plans to cement the agreement at national level.
  • The Paris signing ceremony is a significant milestone, but there’s a long road of actions needed ahead. Indonesia and Argentina are already injecting more ambition into their national plans, but to limit global warming to 1.5DegC, urgent action is needed to align all national climate plans with a complete fossil fuel phase out. At the international level, climate needs to stay atop governments’ agendas – including when G7 countries meet next month and when G20 nations meet in China in  September G20. During these meetings nations can make progress towards fulfilling their promises to ditch fossil fuel subsidies, and provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to support the renewable transition while boosting resilience in climate vulnerable communities.
  • People power helped drive ambition in Paris, and it will keep the pressure on. Faith leaders, parenting groups, health advocates,leading investors, climate vulnerable countries and more than 13 million people are amongst those urging their governments to not just participate in Friday’s signing ceremony but to implement the Paris agreement at home as swiftly as possible. Between 4 and 15 of May, thousands more will participate in a coordinated, global wave of mass action targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects, and carry forward the momentum for an urgent and just transition to 100% renewable energy.

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