The landmark Paris climate change pact is poised to enter into force around the world after European Union lawmakers overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement Tuesday, reports the AP. In the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the lawmakers voted by 610 to 38 with 31 abstentions for the 28 EU nations to simultaneously ratify the agreement to limit global warming. The deal cannot take effect until 55 countries, accounting for at least 55% of global emissions, have adopted it. Sixty-two countries have done so but they accounted only for about 52% of emissions—the EU's fast-track ratification takes the Paris Agreement past the 55% threshold. The handover to the UN of a legal document formally doing that is expected to happen by Friday.
The Paris agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels, and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The EU prides itself on being a leader in the fight against global warming, but it came under heavy criticism after the US and China beat the bloc to enact the accord. International momentum has been building to ensure that the deal could enter force by next UN climate conference, which starts Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Read more climate change stories.)