India joins Paris Climate Change Agreement, submits instrument of ratification at UN headquarters

India joins Paris Climate Change Agreement, submits instrument of ratification at UN headquarters

India formally joined the Paris Climate Change Agreement by submitting its instrument of ratification+ at UN headquarters in New York on Sunday - the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The instrument of ratification was deposited by India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin.

By putting Gandhi seal on the climate deal, the country will now urge the global community to adopt ‘Gandhian way of life’ (shun extravagant lifestyles) to reduce their carbon footprints and protect the earth from adverse impact of climate change.

India will articulate its point vigorously during the next climate conference (COP22) at Marrakech in Morocco, beginning November 7.

“India had led from front to ensure the inclusion of climate justice and sustainable lifestyles in the Paris Agreement+ . We will put across this view based on Gandhian lifestyle in Morocco”, said environment minister Anil Madhav Dave.

Spelling out next course of action after India formally joined the Agreement, Dave said, “It is important that apart from emission cuts, we also focus on measures that involve broader participation. People in developed countries live extravagant lifestyles with high carbon footprint.

“Simple everyday changes in lifestyles, when practiced by a large number of people around the globe, collectively will make a huge impact”.

Besides pushing these points during negotiations around framing the rules, India will in Marrakech also set up an exclusive pavilion during COP22 to showcase the country’s action on climate change and explain how the ‘Gandhian lifestyles’, being practiced in the country, actually help it reduce its carbon footprints.

Since European Union+ (28 nations) has also decided to submit its instrument of ratification on Tuesday, the climate deal will enter into force before the beginning of COP22 — giving an opportunities to countries who formally joined the Agreement to actively involve themselves in framing rules and guidelines to implement the Paris deal through their post-2020 actions.

Congratulating India for its climate leadership and building a strong momentum for the agreement to enter into force as quickly as possible this year, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon said, “India’s ratification of the agreement moves the world an important step closer toward achieving that goal”.

India, accounting for 4.1% of the total global emission, has become the 62nd country to ratify the Paris Agreement. With India on board, the total emission share of these countries reached 51.89% mark – just 3.11% less than the emission threshold to bring the Agreement into force. Once EU, accounting for 12.1% of the total global emission, joins it on Tuesday, the deal will enter into force after 30 days (early November).

Noting it in a statement, Ban Ki-moon said, “What better way to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy for people and planet … He reminded us that ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed’. Gandhi also challenged us to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’. Today that commitment is reflected in a momentous way”.

Environmentalists from across the globe also welcomed India’s move. The Delhi-based think-tank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), suggested that India should push the developed countries to scale up their climate targets and bring equity and ambition in Paris climate deal agenda.

“By being in the club of early ratifiers, India has shown itself as a responsible and serious global player in the climate negotiations. But ratification is just the beginning of tough and difficult negotiations ahead. India will have to play an important role in making Paris Agreement effective and equitable”, said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the CSE.

Referring to less ambitious pledges made by the developed countries to cut carbon emissions, director general of the CSE, Sunita Narain, said, “The Paris deal is weak. It erased historical responsibility of the developed countries in adressing climate change. However, there is still enough scope for equity and ambition in the current framework of Paris Agreement. India should strive to bring equity back into the climate agenda”.

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