China and the USA have ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, giving a boost to efforts to bring the accord into effect by the end of this year.
China’s national people’s congress legislature voted to adopt “the proposal to review and ratify the Paris agreement” that was followed by the United States shortly after president Barack Obama arrived at the G20 summit, which starts on Sunday in China.
He said the agreement may be remembered as “the moment we finally decided to save our planet”, while his counterpart Xi Jinping said the milestone marked the start of a “global government system” for climate change.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who accepted documents from the two nations formally entering them into the pact, said he will hold an event in New York to which he will invite other world leaders to formally ratify the agreement.
It needs the participation of 55 countries, representing 55% of the world’s emissions.
China is responsible for about 25% of global carbon emissions, with the US in second place on about 15%, making their efforts crucial in the fight against warming.