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Costa Rica votes to ratify Paris agreement on climate change

October 4, 2016

Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly voted Monday to ratify the Paris agreement on climate change.

The final vote came Monday evening after lawmakers received a Supreme Court ruling stating that none of the provisions of the climate change deal go against the Constitution.

The approval means the agreement signed last December in France by 195 countries will become law in Costa Rica. President Luis Guillermo Solís must still sign the bill before it goes into effect.

Following the vote, Environment Minister Édgar Gutiérrez said that despite being a small country “Costa Rica showed the world that it has the courage to take bold and timely decisions to work for a sustainable development.”

Vice President Ana Helena Chacón said Casa Presidencial was very pleased with the lawmakers’ vote.

Chacón lead the country’s delegation to Paris last year, along with Gutiérrez and Foreign Minister Manuel González.

Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres was Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Paris agreement

The unprecedented global climate deal aims to limit the warming of the planet to “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial levels.

It also requires all signatory countries to take legally binding actions to limit their carbon dioxide emissions. Signatories also pledged to review their progress every five years.

Costa Rica’s participation at the summit mostly focused on promoting respect for human rights and gender equality in the climate pact. The country also proposed to become a “laboratory for decarbonizing the economy.”

Treaty could soon take effect

The European Parliament voted Tuesday to ratify the Paris agreement, bringing the climate change deal closer to becoming a legal reality.

“We made the deal in Europe, and we make it a reality in Europe,” the EU’s climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete wrote on Twitter after the vote.

The Paris agreement takes effect when at least 55 countries, representing 55 percent of global emissions, have ratified it. As of Monday, 62 nations had ratified the deal, representing roughly 52 percent of global emissions.

EU member countries must now ratify the Paris agreement individually, following their national parliamentary procedures.

 

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