On Sunday, India became the 62nd nation to formally join the Paris climate change agreement. The country's inclusion was made official after handing the ratification documents to the United Nations.
India’s ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, personally handed the instrument of ratification to the United Nations in a brief ceremony.
The language of the Paris agreement was negotiated in December 2015. Its main goal is to keep global temperatures below two-degrees above pre-industrial levels.
The agreement is not binding until it is ratified by 55 countries that contribute at least 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The minimum country requirement was surpassed on September 22, but the emissions threshold has not yet been met. The move is still significant, however, since India is the second most populous country and produces the third most carbon emissions.
According to the United Nations, current signatories account for 51.89% of global greenhouse emissions.
The ratifying document lays out the specific policy plans to manage emissions while sustaining economic development. India has a goal of producing 40% of its electricity with non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
The document also affirms India’s commitment to environmental causes while taking a swipe at countries that produce more emissions per capita. “By enhancing their efforts in keeping with historical responsibility, the developed and resource rich countries could reduce the burden of their action from being borne by developing countries that carry the additional responsibility of finding resources to meet their development needs and strive to improve their Human Development Index (HDI),” it reads.
In a statement, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon praised India’s climate leadership. “What better way to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy for people and planet,” he said.
The next country to ratify the agreement will likely be Canada. Today, the House of Commons began a debate on the Paris agreement and possible paths to compliance with it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Canadian MPs that provinces will be given 2018 to implement a carbon pricing plan that curbs emissions, or the federal government will step in with their own scheme.