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Paris Climate Agreement Takes Effect

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The Paris Agreement, the international climate change accord between 96 countries, including the United States, that seeks to limit global warming by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, went into effect Nov. 4.

“Humanity will look back on 4 November 2016 as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future,” said Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s climate chief, and Salaheddine Mezouar, foreign minister of Morocco, in a joint statement, according to the Guardian.

“The Paris agreement is undoubtedly a turning point in the history of common human endeavor, capturing the combined political, economic and social will of governments, cities, regions and businesses and investors to overcome the existential threat of unchecked climate change.”

In addition to limiting global warming, the Paris Agreement seeks to vastly increase transparency between countries about what their progress is on climate goals.

According to the European Commission's website, the Paris Agreement requires countries to “come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science; report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets; and track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.”

Climate scientists believe that continued work down the road will be the real progress of the Paris Agreement.

"Climate change is a marathon, not a sprint, and the agreement sets a course for the marathon in the years ahead," said David Sandalow, inaugural fellow at the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy, according to the AP.

The U.S. presidential nominees disagree on the country's participation in the climate deal.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has criticized the Paris Agreement by saying it gives foreign bureaucrats too much control over American energy policy, according to the Telegraph.

On his campaign website, he says he would “[c]ancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton praised the deal, which was signed by President Barack Obama.

“I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves,” Clinton said, according to Climate Change News. 

Sources: Guardian, The AP via the Las Vegas Sun, Climate Change News, European Photo Credit: U.N. Climate Change/Flickr

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