171 nations sign Paris climate accord

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon embracing US Secretary of State John Kerry who is holding his two-year-old granddaughter Isabelle Dobbs-Higginson, after signing the Paris Agreement on climate change at United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, on
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon embracing US Secretary of State John Kerry who is holding his two-year-old granddaughter Isabelle Dobbs-Higginson, after signing the Paris Agreement on climate change at United Nations Headquarters in New York, US, on April 22, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS • A total of 171 nations formally signed the Paris climate accord at the United Nations yesterday, the most states to endorse an international agreement on Day One, and a record backers hope will inspire swift implementation to curb rapid global warming.

"This is a moment in history," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said at the opening of the ceremony at the UN General Assembly.

The Paris deal will not immediately solve climate change but it commits nations to steps to progressively cut greenhouse emissions that are heating up the planet. Slashing carbon pollution has become even more urgent in recent months, with heat records shattered and extreme floods, storms and drought wreaking havoc across the globe.

Singapore was among the signatories. It was one of the key nations that helped bridge differences between rich and poor countries at the two-week climate talks in Paris at the end of last year.

The Paris accord commits nearly 200 nations to hold global warming to well below 2 deg C, and for nations to pursue actions to limit the warming to 1.5 deg C.

The UN hopes the major show of support will mean the agreement will go into force quickly. Many states still need a parliamentary vote to formally approve the agreement.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline '171 nations sign Paris climate accord'. Print Edition | Subscribe