171 nations sign landmark Paris seal on climate change

ban-ki-moonLeaders from 171 countries yesterday signed the Paris Agreement on climate change as the landmark deal took a key step forward, potentially entering into force, years ahead of schedule.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, holding his young granddaughter, joined dozens of world leaders at a signing ceremony that sets a record for international diplomacy: Never had so many countries signed an agreement on the first available day. States that don’t sign Friday have a year to do so.

“We are in a race against time,” U.N. secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering. “The era of consumption without consequences is over.”

Many now expect the climate agreement to enter into force long before the original deadline of 2020. Some say it could happen this year.

After signing, countries must formally approve the Paris Agreement through their domestic procedures.

The United Nations says 15 countries, several of them small island states under threat from rising seas, were doing that by depositing their instruments of ratification.

Countries that had not yet indicated they would sign the agreement include some of the world’s largest oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, the World Resources Institute said.

The Minister of Environment, Ms. Amina Mohammed and the Acting Director, Department of Climate Change, Dr. Peter Tarfa, represented Nigeria at the signing ceremony.

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