By Paul Davis and Andrew Westgate

China, along with leaders from more than 150 countries, today signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement in New York.

New York Signing Update

Following final negotiation on December 12, 2015, today marked the first day that countries could formally sign the Paris Agreement. At the United Nations headquarters in New York, over 150 countries attended a signing ceremony to mark the occasion.

The Paris Agreement will be open for signature until April 21, 2017 and will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions have formally signed. Today was a significant step as large greenhouse gas emitters such as China, the US, and India each signed. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said in March that he expected more than 120 countries to sign the accord on April 22. Obligations under the Paris Agreement will commence in 2020.

China Leads Low Carbon Future

China became one of the first countries to confirm that it would sign the Paris Agreement on April 22. It issued a joint presidential statement with the US in March in which both nations called on other countries to sign the accord in April “with a view to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as early as possible”.