First comprehensive climate treaty to be ratified by EU

First comprehensive climate treaty to be ratified by EU

European ministers have agreed to ratify the world's first comprehensive climate treaty - a move which is set to bring the deal into force.

The European Union's environment council, made up of ministers from across the bloc, gave the green light to adopting the Paris Agreement at a meeting in Brussels.

The treaty, which commits countries to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero this century to prevent dangerous climate change, must be ratified by at least 55 countries accounting for 55% of the world's emissions to come into force.

Sixty-one countries have already ratified the deal, secured in the French capital last December, while the emissions total is just below 48%.

European Union ratification will allow the bloc's 12% of global emissions to count towards the total before all individual member states have signed up, allowing the agreement to enter into force before the end of the year - much sooner than the planned 2020 start date.

Once the European Parliament has voted for it, the EU could then formally ratify the deal in early October, so it comes into force - 30 days later - by the time countries meet in Morocco in November for the next annual round of climate talks.

EU countries will also each ratify the deal individually, with the UK expected to do so before the end of the year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the move showed the EU "delivers on promises made".

"I am happy to see that today the member states decided to make history together and bring closer the entry into force of the first ever universally binding climate change agreement.

"We must and we can hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies.

"This is not a dream. This is a reality and it is within our reach. Today we are closer to it."

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete said: "Today's decision shows what Europe is all about: unity and solidarity as member states take a European approach, just as we did in Paris.

"We are reaching a critical period for decisive climate action. And when the going gets tough, Europe gets going."

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