The Basque Government has welcomed the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the European Parliament in Strasbourg
- "It allows the international agreement on climate to come into force"
- The European Parliament vote today in Strasbourg after the debate attended by Ban Ki-moon, Ségolène Royal, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz.
- On Friday 30th September, the extraordinary Council of Ministers for the Environment from the twenty-eight EU member states approved it unanimously.
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The Basque Government has welcomed the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the European Union. The Minister for the Environment and Territorial Policy, Ana Oregi, believes that "as countries and regions in the Union that are contributing to the initiative, we are making all this hard work real and from now on it needs real and intense continuity given what is at stake for the planet." The agreement will come into force to coincide with the 22nd Conference of the Parties-COP 22 that will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, one year after it was adopted in Paris, on 12 December 2015. Today, Tuesday, the European Parliament will vote in Strasbourg after the debate attended by Ban Ki-moon, Ségolène Royal, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz.
The Paris Agreement, reached at the World Climate Summit COP21, held in Paris in December 2015 in which the Basque Country participated alongside other countries and regions in Europe, represented by Lehendakari Urkullu, Minister Oregi and the mayors of the Basque capitals, for the first time set the goal of "maintaining the average world temperature rise below 2ºC with regard to preindustrial levels and making every effort to limit this temperature increase to 1.5ºC, acknowledging that it would considerable reduce the risks and effects of climate change."
Ana Oregi stated that "for the Paris Agreement to come into force, it was necessary for at least 55 states, representing 55 percent of the emissions, to ratify it. To date, 61 states have ratified the document and together they make up 47.79% of global emissions. Therefore, it already meets the requirement in terms of the number of countries to come into force, but not the sum of the emissions."
Within this context, on Friday 30th September, the extraordinary Council of Ministers for the Environment from the twenty eight EU member states unanimously approved that the European Union should ratify the Paris Agreement to fight climate change. Now, this ratification has to pass a vote from the European Parliament that will vote at midday on its consent to ratify the Paris climate agreement by the European Union.
Today, Tuesday, in a formal signing ceremony, it will be ratified in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg after a speech by the secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, attended by the French Minister for the Environment and president of the COP21 Ségolène Royal, Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. In addition, leaders of the political groups will also have their say. In this way, the European Union will be ready to present its instrument of ratification before the United Nations.
If these deadlines are met, the Paris Agreement will come into force 30 days later, coinciding with the start of the latest World Climate Summit (COP22) in Morocco. In the case of the Basque Country, on 3rd May 2016, the Basque Government Council signed its approval of the Paris Agreement by means of a declaration that climate change represents a pressing threat, emphasising the urgent need to take the necessary measures to make sure that the average world temperature increase remains below 2ºC and highlighting the role of regions and towns in climate action.
"The Basque Country approved its own Climate Change Strategy KLIMA 2050 back in June 2105. This strategy, along with climate change actions in the three Basque capitals, was highlighted among the 24 best international projects “for its capacity to achieve a low carbon, resilient territory” for theTransformative Actions Programme (TAP) by ICLEI” mentioned Ana Oregi.
The Basque Government's action is complemented by local actions carried out by the Basque Municipal Network on Sustainability known as “Udalsarea“, where 10 Basque towns signed the "Compact of Mayors" making them the first in Europe to obtain the "Full Compliant" distinction.
“The leadership demonstrated by the Basque Country on this matter is reflected in the Basque Declaration: a new roadmap for European cities and towns that was presented last April in Bilbao within the framework of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns. This document is the framework for transforming European society into a community that is aware of and responsible for the social, economic and environmental situation in Europe," specified Ana Oregi.
At the Paris Summit, different countries, regions and sub-state level entities from all over the world grouped into different organisations such as The Climate Group, Iclei or nrg4sd –Quebec, Scotland, Basque Country or Southern Australia among many others - took active part in terms of declarations and proposals to the states.