Paris climate agreement to take effect Nov. 4

Deal commits rich, poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is raising sea levels and shifting rainfall

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The landmark Paris agreement on climate change will enter into force on Nov. 4, after a coalition of the world’s largest polluters and small island nations threatened by rising seas pushed it past a key threshold on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama hailed the news as “a turning point for our planet,” and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the agreement’s strong international support a “testament for the urgency of action.” Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech, called it: “A moment of bright hope in the increasingly discouraging landscape of climate science.”

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said late Wednesday that the European Union and 10 countries deposited their instruments of ratification on Wednesday. The percentage of emissions they account for topped the 55 percent threshold needed for the treaty to take effect, he said.

Haq said the 10 countries were Austria, Bolivia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, Portugal and Slovakia.

The deal takes effect 30 days after 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions, have adopted it. Sixty-two countries had done so as of Tuesday but they accounted only for about 52 percent of emissions.

A UN website said that as of Wednesday afternoon 73 of the 197 parties to the treaty, accounting for 56.87 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Paris agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

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