April 22, 2016 | Tampa, FL
On April 22, 2016, more than 171 countries signed the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Among other things, the Agreement calls on countries to set targets for their carbon emissions with scheduled updates to occur every five years. This signing occurred following a breakthrough in negotiations in December 2015 and occurred on the 46th Earth Day.
Nations that sign onto the treaty must officially ratify it through domestic procedures before it goes into force.
UN-Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the following remarks:
“We have made historic progress today, taking the next step to move from the aspirations of COP21 to action on the ground. The Paris Agreement provides the policy certainty and clear direction requested by the private sector, civil society and local leaders. Now we must take climate action to the next level. By acting on climate, we advance the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. National, state and provincial governments, cities, the private sector, investors, and the public at large – all are crucial to tackling the serious dangers posed by climate change.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry echoed these sentiments with the following:
“For sure, the agreement that we reached in Paris is the strongest, most ambitious global climate pact ever negotiated. But the power of this agreement is not that it, in and of itself, guarantees that we will actually hold the increase of temperature to the target of 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees centigrade. In fact, it does not and we know that, we acknowledge it. The power of this agreement is the opportunity that it creates. The power is the message that it sends to the marketplace. It is the unmistakable signal that innovation, entrepreneurial activity, the allocation of capital, the decisions that governments make, all of this is what we now know definitively is what is going to define the new energy future – a future that is already being defined but even yet to be discovered. The power of this agreement is what it is going to do to unleash the private sector, and it is already doing to set in pace the global economy on a new path for smart, responsible, sustainable development.”
The United Nations Association-Tampa Bay Chapter is pursuing local initiatives on the topics of climate change and sustainability as part of our Global Goals for Sustainable Development programming. These efforts involve public events, educational lectures, talks, and movie screenings, and engagement with all levels of the community including the general public, K-12, and University students.
This year’s Model United Nations Conference, our annual educational event attended by hundreds of middle, high school, and university students, centered its core theme around climate change and its impact. Learn more about our Model United Nations program.
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