Earth Day 2016: 155 Countries to Sign Historic Climate Change Agreement

April 22, 2016 will be a historic day for the world of global climate consideration. Most people are probably aware that that is Earth Day, but this year the world will be celebrating more than just an annual tradition. This year, 155 countries have committed to signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York.

According to, this historic international agreement will work to improve global climate conditions was approved by the 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention of the Climate Change (UNFCCC) in COP21 in Paris on Dec. 12, 2015. The underlying agreement contained in this document is that all signing countries will pledge to work on efforts to limit the temperature rise overall below two degrees Celsius. The ultimate goal is a rise of just 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The number of countries that have indicated their intention to attend and sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April is now up to 155,” said General Farhan Haq, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary, in a press conference last Friday.

Signing countries will still need to go through a process in order for the agreement to be officially ratified. Each country must submit a proposal for plans and potential actions they will take to improve conditions in their nation. This will vary from country to country, and will be presented to the Depositary under U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

Only after at least 55 parties successfully do this as well as cut at least about 55% of total emissions of greenhouse gases will the agreement be considered fully in effect. The importance and significance of this global move has been largely met with favor from the world community.

“That is the only way which we can save this one, only, planet Earth,” said Ki-Moon.

“The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as Winston’s is increasing,” Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama noted. “And we all have to be fearful about what this means—not only for ourselves, but for future generations.”

This year’s Earth Day theme is “Trees for Earth.” To go along with this theme, the Earth Day Network has set a goal of planting 7.8 million trees over the next five years. Trees, which have root systems that typically grow 12 to 36 inches below the soil surface, are one of the best ways to combat climate change as they absorb potentially harmful CO2.

“The world now has an agreement on universal, equitable, flexible and durable climate,” Ki-moon said. “Our task is not over. In fact, it’s just begun. In 2016, we must move from words to deeds. The signing ceremony this April 22 is an essential step.”

Related posts