The next significant step toward addressing climate change took place on April 22, 2016 in New York, when 175 nations signed the Paris Climate Pact following the agreement reached in Paris in December of last year. The agreement will take effect once at least 55 nations representing at least 55 percent of global emissions formally ratify the accord. Following the New York signing, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed confidence that this could occur much sooner than predicted, possibly as early as November 2016 when the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework on Conventional Climate Change ("UNFCCC") is held in Morocco.

At least 16 nations have already ratified the agreement, with at least 20 further commitments already in place to ratify by the end of this year. Ratification by the U.S., China, and the European Union, which have all committed to joining the deal, will be instrumental in taking the signatory parties to above the 55 percent emissions threshold. Until then, the signatories are bound not to take actions that could undermine the agreement objectives.

The Paris agreement aims at keeping global temperature rise well below 2ºC and to make efforts to keep it to 1.5ºC, compared to pre-industrial levels. Signatory countries, upon ratification, will have an obligation to take measures to reduce their emissions. This will involve taking steps to put in place infrastructure to transform themselves from high- to low-carbon economies. A review process will occur every five years to take stock and reconsider targets on a more ambitious basis. Intrinsic to this goal is that countries' progress will be tracked to ensure transparency and accountability.

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