The Paris Agreement, a global deal on climate change which is meant to save the world from catastrophic effect of global warming through various country-specific actions, entered into force on Friday, making it an important day in the history.

The agreement, which reached the threshold for entry into force a month ago on October 5, was adopted by 195 countries, including India, in Paris in December last year. India had ratified it on October 2 while the two biggest polluters — China and the USA — had done this in early September.

Though the countries are supposed to take climate actions under the deal from January 1, 2021, the next four years will be crucial to frame the rules of its implementation. Beginning of the rule making process will start during the forthcoming climate conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco. The 12-day Conference will begin on November 7.

"The swift coming into force of the Agreement reflects the changed sensibilities across the world in addressing climate change, and the wide appreciation of the need to act expeditiously. The Paris Agreement is also a testament to collaboration and perseverance of nations who debated and negotiated to ultimately reach a consensus, and of NGOs and multilateral organisations who contributed to and encouraged the parties (countries) to the Agreement," said Ajay Mathur, director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a Delhi-based think tank on energy and environment.

Under the agreement, countries are required to take actions as per their pledges over an agreed period of time. It has put in place a transparency mechanism through which countries would report on progress made towards meeting their pledges. It also includes periodic stocktaking to equip the world with an assessment of the level of action needed to keep average global temperature rise within 2 degrees celsius by the end of this century from the pre-industrial level.

As part of the celebration of entry into force of this international pact, India along with other countries on Friday displayed a 'smiley' with lights on important buildings with a slogan 'We did It'. The country's environment ministry's building —Indira Paryavaran Bhawan here in Jor Bagh — also displayed the 'smiley'. "This is a momentous day for all of us-...Now is the time to strengthen global resolve, do what science demands and seize the opportunity to build a safer, more sustainable world for all. We are the first generation to really feel the effects of climate change - and the last that can prevent its worst consequences," said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the occasion.

Source: November 5, 2016, The Times of India