The Paris Agreement on climate change took a big step toward becoming effective Wednesday as two and one-half dozen more countries signed on.
Sixty nations have now ratified the Dec. 2015 accord, five more than the minimum needed, but they account for only 47.76 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement will take effect only when countries representing at least 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions join it.
“What seemed at one time impossible is now inevitable,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “I am confident by the time I leave office (on Dec. 31), the Paris agreement will have entered into force.”
The Paris Agreement aims to keep warming of the atmosphere to an amount below 2 degrees Celsius. Each country is to develop a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions produced by its economy.
The countries that acted formally Wednesday to signal intent to comply with the Paris Agreement included Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Brunei, Dominica, Ghana, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Tonga, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Vanuatu.
Ukraine ratified the Paris Agreement on Sept. 19, while Micronesia indicated its acceptance on Sept. 15.
The period in which countries can ratify, adopt, or accept the Paris Agreement ends on Apr. 17, 2017.