International leaders from over 175 countries signed the historic Paris climate accord on Earth Day this year, finalizing a long-fought deal to slow the rise of harmful greenhouse gases nationwide.
2015 was the Earth’s hottest recording. However, 2016, is set to surpass it. Analysts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say that data shows that rising temperatures are foretasting to accelerate over the next calendar year.
U.N. secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the era of consumption without consequences is over. Ki-Moon also shares that we are in a race against time, and those who come after us should not suffer the consequences of reckless environmental behavior. Winter of 2015 marks the lowest recorded amount of sea ice. Information has been gathered over the past 37 years by the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Paris set the stage for the signing. It took years of U.N. climate negotiations to draw up the non-binding contract. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the document with his granddaughter on his hip. She was one of 197 children in attendance who symbolized that the pledge is for them, for our future.
Nations that were not at the ceremonial signing still have time to agree to the terms. However, they will have to take extra time to get it ratified by their governing orders. Signing the document is just the first of many steps that could take anywhere from months to years. It will take 55 countries, a representation of over 50 percent of global emissions, to make the deal go into effect.
The treaty seeks to limit global warming by the year 2100. Nations must work together to reduce and target their emissions levels. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are also on the rise. Many are claiming that they are to blame for the ever-rising temperatures. The document helps the nations to stand solitary against these harmful gases.
Together, US and China create almost 40% of global emissions; both signed on Friday. Supporters of the initiative say that the reduction of pollutants in the atmosphere has been long in coming. Having the cooperation of nations that contribute largely to the problem is a great start to rectifying the situation. Earth Day 2016 is certainly symbolic.