By: Ellen Teague
The National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN) has welcomed the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change formally coming into force on 4 November 2016.
This will legally bind countries that have ratified the deal to act on the pledges made last year in Paris. This includes a commitment by every country to prepare increasingly ambitious pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, and to provide financial and technical support to developing countries, where poor communities have felt the worst impacts of Climate Change.
A raft of countries ratified the deal on 22 April, which was the first possible opportunity to do so. These mainly included small island states, whose emissions are negligible in the context of global emissions. Since then, the US and China jointly ratified the agreement, together being responsible for 38% of global emissions. India and the European Union ratified last month. The unprecedented speed of the entry into force of the Paris Agreement demonstrates that world leaders understand the urgency of the issue.
According to the NJPN, galvanizing action to implement the Paris Agreement must now begin in earnest by leaving the era of fossil fuels behind and embracing an energy future based on renewable and clean energy sources.
Ashley Ralston, chair of the NJPN's Environment Working Group, says: "We are proud that the NJPN has for at least decade given serious attention to environmental justice, including climate action. Some of our member groups were in Paris, alongside a Vatican delegation, CAFOD, and members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, where the papal encyclical Laudato Si' was influential in inspiring the agreement. The NJPN urges Prime Minister Theresa May to keep her promise for the UK to ratify the agreement by the end of this year. We would like to see her do so before the next major UN climate summit in Marrakesh later this month and for the UK to speedily transition to a low-carbon economy."