People, Environment

155 Nations to Sign Climate Deal

155 Nations to Sign Climate Deal155 Nations to Sign Climate Deal

A record 155 countries will sign the landmark agreement to tackle climate change at a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York on April 22, according to the UN.

UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said that five countries - Barbados, Belize, Tuvalu, Maldives and Samoa - will not only sign the agreement reached in Paris in December but deliver their ratification.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who is in charge of global climate negotiations, have invited leaders from all 193 UN member states to the event. The UN says more than 60 heads of state and government plan to attend, News24 reported.

The current record of 119 signatures on the opening day for signing an international agreement is held by the Law of the Sea treaty in 1994.

The Paris agreement will take effect 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the secretary-general.

All major emitters bar Russia are listed as attending, while Kuwait, the UAE and Iran, which is represented by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, will also participate.

The list of countries planning to sign the Paris agreement includes the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming: China, United States, Japan, India, Brazil, Australia and many European Union countries including Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

No word on Saudi Arabia or 2012 UN climate summit hosts Qatar.

The agreement, which was hammered out last December, sets a collective goal of keeping global warming below 2°C compared to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. It requires all countries to submit plans for climate action and to update them every five years, though such plans are not legally binding.

The UN chief has stressed that the signing ceremony is just a first step in accelerating efforts to tackle climate change.