The landmark Paris agreement on climate change goes into force Nov. 4.
President Barack Obama hailed the news as a “turning point for our planet.”
Outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the international support for the agreement is a testament to the urgency of action.
“Global momentum for the Paris agreement to enter into force in 2016 has been remarkable,” Ban said in a press statement. “What once seemed unthinkable is now unstoppable.”
The Nov. 4 launch date comes 30 days after adoption of the agreement by at least 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of global emissions — the negotiated threshold.
As of early October, 73 of the 197 parties to the accord had ratified it. Together, the group is responsible for almost 57 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama, in a White House speech Oct. 5, said, “Today, the world meets the moment. And if we follow through on the commitments that this agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet.”
Enforcement of the agreement will begin just four days before the U.S. general election. Hillary Clinton supports the accord and believes the climate change science. Donald Trump does not believe the science and does not support the Paris Agreement.
Enforcement also will begin just days before a U.N. climate conference in Morocco.
The agreement was negotiated at the U.N. conference on climate change last December.
“The speed at which countries have made the Paris agreement’s entry into force possible is unprecedented,” said Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
A key provision in the global blueprint is the commitment to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
“This agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change,” the president said in his Rose Garden address. “It will help other nations ratchet down their dangerous carbon emissions over time and set bolder targets as technology advances, all under a strong system of transparency that allows each nation to evaluate the progress of all other nations.
“And by sending a signal that this is going to be our future — a clean-energy future — it opens up the floodgates for businesses, and scientists and engineers to unleash hightech, low-carbon investment and innovation at a scale that we’ve never seen before. So this gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we’ve got.”
Lisa Neff is senior news editor for the Wisconsin Gazette.