WASHINGTON, DC (October 5, 2016)--The Paris Agreement cleared the final hurdle to enter into force today after the European Union submitted its instrument of ratification to the United Nations and the two thresholds of 55 countries and over 55 percent of global emissions were reached. The Paris Agreement will now enter into force in 30 days. The historic climate agreement adopted last December brings all countries together under a common global framework to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate impacts.

Following is a statement from Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute:

“The Paris Agreement, just one year old, is now ready for lift off. This is a welcome development after years of frustratingly slow progress around the international climate talks. In a remarkable display of global cooperation, countries joined hands, demonstrating that they understand the urgent need to accelerate action on climate change.

“No longer can anyone rationally question the science of human-caused climate change. With nearly each passing month, another temperature record is broken and global CO2 reaches ever-more dangerous heights.

“There is good news. World leaders understand more clearly than ever that smart climate action is essential to deliver better, more equitable and longer-lasting economic growth. The shift to a low-carbon economy is truly inevitable, and those that embrace this direction first will benefit most.

“Like many successes, the Paris Agreement has many champions. The U.S., under President Obama’s clear vision and firm leadership, has been a driving force, working alongside China, India and other important players from around the world. And, of course, France and the EU have played galvanizing roles to reach this marker.

“With the Agreement in full force, countries can shift their focus from commitments to action. We need to increase investment in sustainable infrastructure and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy. We must create more livable, low-carbon cities and expand the supply of land and forests for carbon storage. We must slash food loss and waste, a major source of emissions and a travesty for people who lack enough food. And, we must continue to work at all levels – global, national, cities and communities – to build the political will for this transformation.

“All countries now need to implement the commitments they made in Paris. This will require new ideas and technologies, along with bold leadership. The decarbonization of the global economy will be one of the most exciting transitions in economic history. It will require creative partnerships, sharing of best practices. WRI is working with multiple partners to advance the implementation of national climate commitments and support increasingly ambitious emission reduction strategies.

“We should celebrate today, but the hard work is far from done. The Paris Agreement will unleash action and send signals to markets, but it will take a sustained effort to set the world on a safer, more prosperous path.”