EU Divided Over When And How To Ratify Paris Climate Deal

  • Date: 03/09/16
  • Pilita Clark, Financial Times

The EU is shaping up to be a potential stumbling block as countries around the world scramble to make the Paris climate change agreement “Trump-proof” ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Donald Trump, the Republican party’s presidential nominee, has called global warming a hoax and has threatened to cancel the UN pact if elected on November 8.

Mr Trump cannot single-handedly kill the agreement, painstakingly negotiated by more than 190 countries in December last year, and once it comes into force he would have to wait four years to withdraw the US from it completely.

However, the agreement is still far from entering into force because this requires 55 countries with a 55 per cent share of global greenhouse gas emissions to formally join or ratify it, a step requiring approval in some national legislatures.

So far, only 24 mostly small island nations with a 1.08 per cent share of emissions have done this, UN figures show. […]

The European Commission suggested in June that it could in effect ratify on member countries’ behalf, through a European Council decision, rather than waiting for all 28 states to act separately. But a number of countries are understood to be wary of the precedent this could set, preferring to join individually first.

Some analysts say this will make it hard for the Paris agreement to take effect this year, even after the expected G20 announcement this weekend by Barack Obama, US president, and Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart.

“Action by the US and China will create renewed momentum toward entry into force of the agreement this year, before Obama and [UN secretary-general] Ban Ki-moon leave office,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House adviser. “But without EU approval, they face a steeply uphill climb.”

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said the EU was determined to ratify and implement the pact swiftly.

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