World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking before parliamentarians voted in the French city of Strasbourg, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said members had an “opportunity to make history” and urged them to vote in favor “in the name of humanity.”
In the end, 610 members voted for, 38 against and 31 were abstentions, bringing the Paris climate deal to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) a step closer to reality in 2016.
“The UNFCCC [United Nations Framework - Convention on Climate Change] Paris Agreement on fighting climate change… will come into force next month, having met the necessary conditions much earlier than predicted, as the European Parliament agreed to its ratification by the European Union in a historic vote on Tuesday,” a European Parliament statement said.
"With the action taken by the EU parliament, I am confident that we will be able to cross 55 percent threshold very soon, in just a matter of a few days," Ban said after EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to approve the accord.
"I am extremely honored to be able to witness this historic moment," he said. "We have seen extraordinary action from all corners of the globe to bring this agreement to life this year.
"You now have an opportunity to make history by helping lead the world to a better future ... let us show we are united."
The first ever universal and legally-binding global climate agreement signed by 195 countries last December in Paris calls on countries “to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, and to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change.”
China and the U.S., the two largest emitters, joined the agreement in early September. India became the latest country to ratify the deal on Sunday.
According to the UN Climate Action, at least 55 parties accounting for 55 percent of global emissions are needed for the agreement to enter into force.
To date, 62 parties, accounting for 51.89 percent of global emissions, have formally deposited their instruments of ratification.
The European Union accounts for some 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the EU, together with seven member states that have completed the ratification process, can deposit the ratification instruments in the UN headquarters in New York by this Friday.