Religious Leaders Urge Nations To Promptly Ratify Paris Agreement

NEW DELHI: With over 150 countries indicating to sign the historic Paris agreement on the first day of the special signing ceremony in New York on April 22, religious leaders from 50 countries including India on Monday presented an interfaith climate change statement to United Nations (UN), urging prompt ratification of the agreement by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible.

Religious leaders, representing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other faiths, signed the statement that also called for "fossil fuel disinvestment and reinvestment in renewable and low carbon solutions" by the governments. 

As many as 20 religious leaders from India are among the list of 270 who signed the statement while extending their support for the "full and ambitious implementation" of the Paris agreement that was adopted by 195 countries at the climate conference in the French capital in December last year. 

Indian religious leaders who signed the interfaith climate change statement include Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Acharya Lokesh Muni Ji, Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo, Wahidudin Khan, Jaspreet Kaur, A K Merchant and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo among others. 

The Paris deal is the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. It established a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions where 195 countries will work together to put the world on a path to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and agree to pursue efforts to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

India will be represented by the country's environment minister Prakash Javadekar in the signing ceremony in New York on April 22. The agreement will be open for signature at the UN headquarters for one year, from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017. 

So far, six countries - Maldives, Fiji, Palau, Marshal Islands, Belize and Saint Lucia - have completed their ratification process and will submit their instruments of ratification on April 22. Other countries, including India, will initiate the process the ratification after signing the agreement and submit it to the UN headquarters in due course. 

Under Article 21 of the agreement that was adopted in the wake of the 13-day of marathon negotiation, at least 55 countries accounting to an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions will have to ratify\accept\approve the agreement before it enters into force.

The Article 21 says that the Paris agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) deposit their "instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession" with the depositary at UN headquarters. 

Courtesy: The Economics Times