Barack Obama: "This gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we’ve got." Image: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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European Union nations have agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change, joining other large emitters including the United States, China, India and taking the accord across a legal threshold required to officially bring it into force.
The EU nations, as well as Canada, Bolivia and Nepal increased the backing for the 2015 Paris Agreement to 58.83% of global greenhouse gas emissions, above the 55% needed for implementation.
The deal aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature increases "well below" 2°C.
US President Barack Obama called the ratification of the Paris climate accord "a historic day in the fight to protect our planet for future generations. If we follow through on the commitments that this Paris agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet."
Here is a selection of quotes from world leaders on the landmark deal.
“Today, the world meets the moment. And if we follow through on the commitments that this agreement embodies, history may well judge it as a turning point for our planet.”
“This agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change.”
“By sending a signal that this is going to be our future -- a clean energy future -- it opens up the floodgates for businesses, and scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation at a scale that we’ve never seen before. So this gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we’ve got.”
“When the old path no longer takes us far, we should turn to innovation.”
“Today we are compelled to transform the way we live, produce and consume. We must bring economic development into harmony with social inclusion and environmental protection."
“The global community has adopted this agreement because the cost of inaction would be irreversible; and that is something that we, as humanity, cannot afford."
“The Paris Agreement represents the greatest global commitment to build a new climate regime, without slowing down economic and social development.”
“Signing the Paris Agreement aims to avoid tragedies. Climate change driven disasters, misery. We need to respond to the emergency.”
“It is no exaggeration to say that climate action is no more and no less than a survival issue.”
“[The Paris Agreement is] the first time that the entire world community has obligated itself to act – to act in the battle against global climate change.”
"Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge."
“We need to now turn our words into action. Without action, the Paris Agreement will just be a piece of paper.
“As a mother and grandmother, I know how important it is to bring people together to ensure that we can pass onto the future generations the beautiful planet that we all call home.”
“Outcries of my people – and the younger generation – are becoming more constant. Meaning the sense of urgency and haste is real for Kiribati.”
“We have already shown our unity and now we can change the world.”
“We acknowledged the world is at a tipping point where irreparable damage is being done, and we cannot continue this way.”
“Conserving our natural environment, while not limiting economic opportunities for our people - that is the global challenge today; a challenge that requires new models of doing business, models that we all recognise are necessary, but which many of us still struggle to embrace.”
“As we look to the future, we cannot improve our living standards while simultaneously degrading the natural environment around us. If we do, we will certainly face a similar climate migration, sparking a humanitarian crisis. Africa is going to have to walk a tightrope if we are to achieve sustainable growth.”
“Climate change – it’s an issue of great significance for all of us, and for the planet. It’s for the future generations. We here in New Zealand stand strongly behind the cause.”
“We join the Paris Agreement because we believe in a shared responsibility to protect this planet for our future generations.”
“We shall overcome this crisis if we join together.”
“Let us never forget - climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits. It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.”
“Today, you are signing a new covenant with the future. This covenant must amount to more than promises."
“I urge world leaders to continue to provide direct political oversight and guidance. And I will look to civil society and the world’s young people to hold Governments to account for the promises they made today.”
“You have made history today. Now let us move swiftly, with courage and determination, to usher in the new era we know can be ours.”
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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