Poland says has begun ratification of Paris climate deal in boost for EU adoption of pact

A NASA Earth Observatory image showing glaciers observed from the HU-25A Guardian aircraft on Sept 2, 2016.
A NASA Earth Observatory image showing glaciers observed from the HU-25A Guardian aircraft on Sept 2, 2016.PHOTO: AFP/ NASA GODDARD

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's president will sign off on the Paris climate deal to curb global warming within days, the country's environment minister said on Friday (Sept 23), boosting an EU push for its adoption ahead of UN climate talks in November.

EU officials have long worried about Poland dragging its feet, with Warsaw having said it wanted to see how much of the burden of reducing the 28-member bloc's emissions would fall to its coal-powered economy before ratifying the accord.

Warsaw's backing could now allow the European Union to overcome an embarrassing delay and accelerate the bloc's own ratification of the pact that Europe has long championed.

In Poland, "the process has started", Environment Minister Jan Szyszko was quoted by the state-run news agency PAP as saying.

"In a few days we will be able to send the document to the president of Poland for signing."

EU environment ministers will meet on Sept 30 to seek consensus on a proposal to fast-track the bloc's ratification of the deal without waiting for each member state to first do so individually.

To win the symbolic honour of triggering the Paris accord's entry into force ahead of the next round of climate talks, EU-level ratification would then have to be signed off on by European Parliament and member states before Oct 7.

The deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which has the backing of nearly 200 countries, takes effect once it is ratified by at least 55 nations that make up at least 55 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

The total number of ratifications has reached 60 - including the world's two biggest emitters, the United States and China - but still falls short of the 55 percent mark on emissions.

The EU, the world's third-largest emitter, could help push the accord over the line, and this would preserve its leadership on a dossier it sees as a rare bright spot amid divisions over migration and Britain's vote to leave the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week described the EU's slow ratification of the climate deal as"ridiculous" and damaging to the bloc's credibility.