The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly T.D. was in New York (22 April 2016) to sign on behalf of Ireland the Paris Agreement on climate change at a special ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris on 12 December 2015. All countries agreed to work together to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts for a 1.5°C target.
Speaking in New York, Minister Kelly said he is “very proud to represent the Irish people on this very important process having already led the Irish delegation during the negotiations themselves (Paris 2015). The Paris Agreement represents a major milestone in the collective response to the impacts of climate change and importantly, sends an unequivocal message to business, stakeholders and citizens that all Governments are committed to playing their part in addressing the challenges posed by climate change .”
The early signature of the Paris Agreement by the European Union and its Member States, including Ireland, supports the international momentum and engagement from world leaders generated in the build-up to December 2015.
Ireland, through the European Union, indicated its commitment through the Agreement to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. Discussions on the respective responsibilities of individual Member States to meet this commitment are under way and once agreed, the next step in the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be through the ratification process itself.
Minister Kelly added, “The Paris Agreement echoes Ireland’s resolve, underpinned by my enactment last December of Ireland’s first ever climate change legislation, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 to continue the process of pursuing a transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.”