Record day one signatures expected for Paris climate deal: UN

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

The Paris Climate Talks, Explained

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A Paris deal to slow climate change is set to be signed by more than 165 countries at the United Nations on Friday, the most states to endorse an international agreement on day one, a record backers hope will inspire swift implementation.

Many states still need a parliamentary vote to formally approve the agreement. It will only enter into force when ratified by at least 55 nations representing 55 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

SEE ALSO: Study finds simple question changes how some men will vote

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "wants to use the event to generate momentum around implementation and early entry into force of the Paris agreement," said Selwin Hart, director of Ban's climate change support team.

Some experts predict the 55 percent thresholds can be reached this year. The United Nations said 13 countries, mostly small island developing states, are due to deposit instruments of ratification on Friday.

The United Nations expects some 60 heads of state and government at the signing ceremony. French President Francois Hollande and Hollywood actor and environmental activist Leonardo di Caprio are expected to attend.

The previous first-day record for signatures was set in 1982 when 119 states signed the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"It's happening much faster than anyone anticipated or expected," Hart said. "Independent analysis suggests that at least one of the top four emitters must ratify the agreement" for it to surpass the 55 percent of emissions threshold.

China and the United States, the world's top emitters accounting together for 38 percent of emissions, are due to sign, along with Russia and India, who round out the top four.

RELATED: The Paris Climate Summit in photos:

14 PHOTOS
Paris Climate Summit, COP21 France
See Gallery
Record day one signatures expected for Paris climate deal: UN
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Obama discussed the COP21 climate change summit, and the threat of terrorism from the Islamic State Group. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A riot police officer patrols at the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A participant walks in front of China's pavillon at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with heads of state from small island nations most at risk from the harmful effects of climate change, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives to deliver his statement at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A participant takes a rest at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Imam Ibrahim Saidy of Norway poses at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Saidy of Norway has declared a "green jihad" but is holy war action on climate change is mostly about seminars, symposiums and fasting. Saida is one of more than 10,000 interfaith clergy worldwide who fast the first day of each month to call attention to the problem of global warming. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A woman eating an apple walks past posters of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
U.S. Associate Director for Research of the Earth Science Division (ESD) within NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Jack Kaye delivers a conference about Antarctic Mass Change at the U.S. Pavillon during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A woman looks on, in front of Indonesia's pavillon at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French President Francois Hollande puts his thumbprint on a wall at the Nicolas Hulot Foundation in the Climate Generations area during the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, north of Paris,Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (Philippe Wojazer, Pool via AP)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with heads of state from small island nations most at risk from the harmful effects of climate change, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A man visits the Climate Generations Areas, part of the COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Many developing nations are pushing to ensure the climate deal comes into force this year, partly to lock in the United States if a Republican opponent of the pact is elected president in November.

Even if the pact is fully implemented, promised greenhouse gas cuts are insufficient to limit warming to an agreed maximum, the United Nations says.

The first three months of 2016 have broken temperature records and 2015 was the warmest year since records began in the 19th century, with heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels.

Warm waters have done widespread damage to corals in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and sea ice in the Arctic hit a record winter low last month.

"The magnitude of the changes has been a surprise even for veteran climate scientists," said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council said the high turnout on Friday "increases the chances that it (the agreement) will enter into force this year."

President Barack Obama says he does not need Senate approval to ratify the agreement. Once the accord enters into force, a little-noted Article 28 says any nation wanting to withdraw must wait four years, the length of a U.S. presidential term.

"There is a clear cry globally for climate action," a senior U.S. State Department official said.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners