This week, the global climate agreement designed last December has reached a crucial milestone after 31 countries ratified the accord at the United Nation’s General Assembly meeting on Wednesday. The new signers bring the total number of participating countries to 60. The Paris climate deal required participation from at least 55 countries representing 55 of global greenhouse gas emissions in order to activate the accord. Although the number of countries surpasses the requirement, only around 48 percent of emissions are represented. Even so, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has predicted the accord will go into full effect before the end of this year.

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Among the nations ratifying the agreement this week are some heavy hitters in terms of emissions contributions, such as Brazil, the world’s seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Mexico, Argentina, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates also ratified the accord, which aims to cap global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels. With a total of 60 countries now on board, 47.7 percent of global emissions are represented, just points away from the 55 percent activation target.

Related: 5 things the Paris climate deal must do to slow global warming

During the annual UN General Assembly meeting this week in New York, video messages from a number of countries relayed promises to ratify the agreement in the coming months, including Germany, France, the EU, Canada, Australia and South Korea. If even a few of those promises are fulfilled, the participants will exceed the 55-percent emissions threshold and the terms of the accord will officially go into effect.

When the agreement was drawn up last winter, 195 nations signed off and agreed to lower emissions in order to slow the effects of climate change. Each nation set forth the process of ratifying the historic international deal, which is the first of its kind. As temperatures and sea levels continue to rise around the globe, many are urging that there is no time for delay. “The problem we continue to confront is growing,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry. “Each day the planet is on this course, it becomes more dangerous.

Via The Guardian

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