NATIONAL

EU marks Paris climate agreement signature

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 24, 2016 - 20:20
  • Updated : Apr 24, 2016 - 23:21
Coinciding with Earth Day -- an annual event celebrated worldwide on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection -- the European Union delegation to Korea hosted a reception Friday to mark the signing of the Paris climate agreement at the United Nations General Assembly by over 120 countries.

The historic accord, which was agreed upon in Paris last December, was also signed on the same day Friday at the New York headquarters, paving the way for its entry into force.

“Today, we are celebrating Earth Day as well as the signature and ratification of the Paris climate agreement at the U.N. in New York,” European Union Ambassador Gerhard Sabathil said at his residence in Seoul. 
European Union Ambassador Gerhard Sabathil (center) listens to Julian Quintart (left), disc jockey and television celebrity on JTBC`s "Non Summit," beside Ha Ji-won, president of the Green Education Institutions and director of the National Assembly Forum on Climate Change, at a reception in Seoul on Friday. Quintart and Ha received awards for their contributions as goodwill ambassadors for climate change. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)

From left) European Union Ambassador Gerhard Sabathil, French Ambassador Fabien Penone and Kilaparti Ramakrishna, director of the U.N. economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific. (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)

“This event will give legal guarantees that the agreement will operate with certainty. The EU will do its part on climate and energy policies without delay, continuing our leadership.”

The European Commission -- an executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding treaties and managing day-to-day business -- will work over the next 12 months on remaining legislative proposals, covering burden sharing in emissions trading, land use and forestry, reliable and transparent climate and energy governance and regulations aimed at increasing energy efficiency, Sabathil added.

French Ambassador Fabien Penone stressed that the deal was the “outcome of a long and demanding process.”

“The Paris agreement required sustained efforts of all participants to reach a balanced and ambitious consensus,” he underlined, noting that nearly 200 governments adopted the goals in Paris showing an “unprecedented determination to target climate change.”

“But this is just the beginning of a long road. We still have a long way to go in implementing these commitments we have made collectively. The ceremony in NYC today, where over 60 governments and 58 heads of state participated, is a major step before the entry into force.”

Kilaparti Ramakrishna, director of the U.N. economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has dedicated himself to climate change action as his utmost priority.

“We don’t have the time. We need to begin acting on what needs to be done,” Ramakrishna emphasized. “Global warming is the envelope within which we have solutions to all our problems of today. If we can get our climate change actions right, we can solve a lot of other sustainable development goals.”

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)