Paris Agreement Will Enter Into Force on Friday, November 4, 2016

Yesterday, October 5, 2016 the Paris Agreement officially passed its international ratification threshold paving the way for the Agreement to enter into force on November 4, 2016.  Under Article 21 of the Paris Agreement, once 55 parties to the Convention accounting for at least 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions had deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession (Instruments) with the U.N. Depositary, the Agreement would become binding on those parties on the thirtieth day thereafter.

By September 21, over 55 parties had deposited their Instruments (including the United States  and China, which collectively represent 37.89% of the global greenhouse gas emissions).  But the emission threshold was not passed until October 5, when 74 parties to the Convention had deposited their Instruments representing a combined total of 58.82% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Members of the European Union, Canada, and India are among the parties that deposited their Instruments this week.

According to an Information Note prepared by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Legal Affairs Programme, once the Agreement enters into force:

  • The institutional structures and arrangements of the Agreement will become operational;
  • The [U.N.] secretariat, under the guidance of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP), will need to make arrangements for convening the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) in conjunction with the first session of the COP scheduled after the date of entry into force of the Agreement;
  • Parties to the Agreement will exercise governance, oversight, leadership and decision-making over the Agreement;
  • Specific legal, procedural and substantive rights and obligations will become effective for Parties to the Agreement, in particular substantive obligations relating to … nationally determined contributions, support and transparency, in accordance with the requirements and time frames specified in the Agreement;
  • Implementation of the Agreement may commence at the international, regional and national levels.

Please refer to our earlier post here for more information about the impact and legal obligations of the Paris Agreement with the respect to the United States.

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