India helped the world make another small step on its path to avoid catastrophic global warming. Yesterday, the nation ratified the Paris Agreement signed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015. As part of the deal, India committed itself that by 2030 it would generate 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources.
Last month, the United States and China, the two biggest polluters in the world, set off an avalanche of ratifications of the historic Paris Agreement -- a text that says signatories vow to reduce or cap greenhouse emissions under a ratchet system in hopes of avoiding two degrees Celsius warming past average-Industrial age levels. Some climatologists say the world is already locked in for 1.5 degrees C warming.
"The Secretary-General calls on all Parties to accelerate their domestic procedures in order to join the agreement as soon as possible this year," said a spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General in a statement.
Last week, 31 other countries ratified the Paris Agreement bringing us half way there. India, though populated by more than 1.25 billion people, is responsible for only 4.5% of global emissions. But for the text to come into force, the second half of Article 21, paragraph 1 of the Paris Agreement needs to be verified. The article states the pact officially enters into force when at least 55 countries that collectively sum at least 55% of the world’s carbon emissions register their instruments of ratification. As of today, including India's ratified pledge, the UNFCCC official tally counts 62 ratified parties, which account for 51.89% of global emissions.
That's just shy of the goal, and inside sources suggest the Paris Agreement might enter into force next week when the European Union is expected to join the pact. Summing 10.9% of the world's emissions, the E.U. ratification will be more than enough to seal the most important climate pact in history -- and right in time for the next round of climate talks in November, in Marrakech, Morocco.
While today marks a celebration, world leaders shouldn't rest on their laurels. Splashing some ink on a piece of paper won't instantly cancel all the damage we've done so far. Ratifying Paris is the easy part -- many challenges lie ahead and the world's capacity to band together under the common good will be put to the test like never before.
For instance, India's environment ministry said that the Paris Agreement only laid out a 'broad framework', but the exact details that will see the pact reach its goals have yet to be outlined. That's expected, in part, to happen in Morroco in November.
India said it will be crucial for world leaders, especially those representing developed countries, to agree how to transfer money and technology to developing countries. Back in Paris, leaders agreed to finance developing countries with $100bn a year by 2020, with a commitment to finance them further in the future.
"At Morocco India will insist on a concrete roadmap from developed countries," the ministry said.