Chapter News

Climate change: EU signs the Paris Agreement

On 22 April 2016 the EU and its 28 member states signed the global Paris climate agreement in a high-level ceremony in New York (United States). The agreement was concluded at the UN climate change conference in December 2015, so called COP21, that took place in Paris. The document will be now open for signature for one year.

Dutch Minister for the Environment and President of the Council, Sharon Dijksma, said: “This is a historic day for global climate action. The Paris Agreement is a real turning point in limiting temperature rise and preventing risks posed by climate change. This signature sets out in black and white the EU’s commitment to do its part and keep up the momentum from Paris. Continuous action is required.”

Minister Dijksma and Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič  will sign the agreement on behalf of the EU.

Ratification and entry into force   

The Paris Agreement will enter into force after ratification from at least 55 countries accounting together for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It will then become legally binding for the countries that have ratified it.  

In March 2016, the European Council underlined that the EU and its member states need to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and on time so as to be parties as from the date of entry into force.

Main elements of the Paris Agreement 

The Paris Agreement aims at keeping global temperature rise well below 2°C and to make efforts to keep it to 1.5°C (compared to pre-industrial levels). To this end, countries have an obligation to takemeasures to reduce their emissions.

There will be a review process every five years to take stock and increase ambition over time. The progress of countries in their commitments will be tracked to ensure transparency andaccountability. The need for all countries to adapt to climate change by preparing and reinforcing their resilience is also acknowledged.

In terms of solidarity, the EU and other developed countries commit to continue providing climate finance to developing countries.


Compliments of the European Council of the European Union