Union Cabinet ratifies Paris Climate Treaty

Union Cabinet ratifies Paris Climate Treaty

Move comes 3 days after PM announced change in stand

Union Cabinet ratifies Paris Climate Treaty
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday ratified the Paris Climate Change agreement, bringing the global treaty tantalisingly close to become operational, less than a year after the pact was adopted by 191 nations. The Paris deal is to come into force 30 days after 55 nations accounting for 55% of global emission ratify the treaty.

Following a green signal from the Narendra Modi government, as many as 62 countries, responsible for almost 52% of global emission, have now agreed to abide by the agreement that calls for a sharp reduction of carbon footprint. China and Brazil are the two other big nations that ratified it.

“It’s a historic decision. Because of India’s push, now the world will ratify the deal soon. It will become an irreversible course of action for humankind. It is a common resolve to keep temperature rise below two degrees Celsius. Now that target is achievable,” former environment minister Prakash Javadekar said here after the Cabinet meeting.

Javadekar led the Indian negotiation team at the Paris summit that thrashed out the international treaty on emission reduction. The decision on the ratification comes three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a switch in the government’s stand.

Last month, Indian officials repeatedly maintained New Delhi was not in a hurry to ratify the Paris treaty. At the Hangzhou G20 summit, Arvind Panagariya, head of the Niti Ayog had stated: “I felt we were not quite ready yet in terms of domestic actions that are required for us to ratify or at least commit to ratify within 2016. So we plan to do it as soon as possible.”

Shortly after G20, Modi had a bilateral meeting with US President Barak Obama at Vientiane in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Following the Modi-Obama meeting, a US spokesperson said that Modi assured Obama on the ratification in 2016 itself. This was, however, denied by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“The government has made no decision as yet on ratifying the Paris agreement. Domestic processes in this regard are still underway. A decision will be taken only when they are completed,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, stated on September 8 after the prime minister’s return to New Delhi. On Sunday, addressing a BJP meeting in Kerala, Modi made the announcement on the changed plan. However, there is no explanation so far from the government on the shift.