Oxfam praised President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping for officially joining their countries to the Paris climate agreement today.
Together, China and the US represent approximately 38% of global emissions, so today’s action marks a significant step towards reaching the threshold of emissions agreed in Paris as the trigger for the agreement to take effect (55%) and brings the total number countries that have ratified the agreement to 25. More than 55 Parties need to ratify for the agreement to formally take effect.
“The United States and China made a critical step towards the Paris agreement formally taking effect, solidifying the work of the Obama Administration in securing this historic agreement,” said Heather Coleman, Oxfam’s climate change policy manager in the US. “While these steps set President Obama’s legacy on international climate action, the next US Administration and Congress must accelerate action pre-2020 while investing in clean, resilient, and inclusive economic growth.”
“In the post-Paris era, China plays an important role in the future of global climate governance and the ability to address both the causes and impacts of climate change,” said Binbin Wang, Oxfam’s climate lead in China. “Swift ratification shows that China is fully committed to supporting and participating in global climate action, in particular leading South-South climate cooperation with its innovative climate fund of $3.1 billion.”
The urgency for action to curb emissions and help the poorest cope with the changing climate cannot be overstated. Oxfam estimates than 60 million people around the world are facing crop failures and worsening hunger today because of erratic climate events, such as the Super El Niño. Further climate-related weather events associated with La Niña expected in the second half of this year, such as severe floods, could further comprise crops and food security.
“As we chart our collective fight on climate change, we must not forget the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable who are on the front lines,” continued Coleman. “Today’s actions are a solid step forward, but the US, China, and other countries need to continue to follow-through on commitments to support climate preparedness globally.”