As many as 170 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on Friday as the landmark deal takes a key step toward entering into force years ahead of schedule. The agreement holds the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursues efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joins dozens of world leaders for a signing ceremony that is expected to set a record for international diplomacy. Never have so many countries signed an agreement on the first available day. States that do not sign on Friday have a year to do so. Many now expect the climate agreement to enter into force long before the original deadline of 2020. Some say it could happen this year.
India and the Paris Pact
India joined 100 nations in ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change on April 22. The United Nations agreement, negotiated in Paris in December 2015, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track by limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and attempt to shield the world from the catastrophic effects of climate change. The global 1 degree rise in temperature was due to 150 years of uncontrolled carbon emission by the developed world. While 30 per cent of cumulative contribution was that of the United States, 50 per cent by Europe, Canada and other developed world and 10 per cent by China, India was responsible for only 3 per cent. Among India’s proactive measures to combat the pernicious effects of global warming was Rs. 400 per tonne green cess on coal and a proposed Compensatory Afforestation Funds Bill, 2015, which would unlock Rs. 40,000 crore of funds made available to States to take up afforestation programmes.