[JURIST] The threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement [text, PDF] on combatting climate change was achieved [press release] on Wednesday. The threshold of 55 parties making up more than 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions triggered the entry into force of the agreement [official website] in 30 days. The signatories to the agreement include both large and small emitters of green house gases at varying levels of development. US President Barack Obama expressed his thanks [press release] to nations across the world for their commitment to combat climate change. The parties which have joined or subsequently join the agreement will submit national climate action plans which can be resubmitted as more ambitious plans at any point but cannot be weakened. Conclusion of negotiations to develop the Paris Agreement's implementation rule book are now the main priority of the Paris Agreement governing body.
According to many experts, climate change [JURIST backgrounder] as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing and controversial environmental issues facing the international community today. The Paris Agreement is the world's first comprehensive pact seeking to reduce carbon emissions and halt climate change. In September US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally committed [JURIST report] their nations to the Paris Agreement. These two nations alone are responsible for roughly 40 percent of the world's total carbon emissions. In May government signatories to the Paris Agreement discussed safeguards [JURIST report] against potential human rights violations which could arise in relation to the Agreement.