The Paris climate change agreement officially goes into force today. Under the agreement, governments around the world must now work to limit temperatures to an increase of under 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels. While environmental groups applaud the occasion, many still call for stronger action to avert disastrous climate change.

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The world’s biggest polluters – China, the United States, the European Union, and India – all ratified the historic agreement, and along with other countries around the world, committed to limit their carbon emissions. The goal of such commitments is to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius greater than they were before the industrial revolution.

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While Greenpeace described today as a “momentous occasion,” they and several other groups said governments of the world must take stronger action to truly avoid the kind of catastrophic destruction resulting from climate change. ActionAid global lead on climate change Harjeet Singh told The Guardian, “The Paris agreement sends a much-needed signal to politicians and industry that we have to build a new world, and this has to start now. However, the deal is not enough to keep people and the planet safe.”

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Morocco Minister of Foreign Affairs, and COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar acknowledged the challenges ahead in a joint statement. They noted the World Meteorological Organization confirmed carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere hit the 400 parts per million milestone, which means we’re already behind in trying to reach the 2 degrees Celsius goal. At COP22, which will take place in Marrakech, Morocco November 7-18, governments will work on a rule book to provide accountability for climate commitments.

Espinosa and Mezouar were still hopeful, saying “Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future.”

Via The Guardian

Images via UNclimatechange on Flickr and