The global embrace of renewable-energy technology is fueled largely by a shared goal to reduce carbon emissions and stop climate change. The world’s nations have been working on the diplomatic front to adopt common targets to help reach that goal within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Paris Agreement.


In October, the world community reached a milestone when the Paris Agreement was officially ratified. It was approved by consensus on Dec. 12, 2015, but could only come into force if at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratified it.


That threshold was reached on Oct. 4, when the European Union (EU) formally adopted the agreement. The EU’s decision makes it possible for Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia to submit their earlier ratifications to the United Nations. The other 21 EU nations will join the Paris Agreement once they complete their national ratification processes. 


Before the EU, the United States, China, Brazil, India and Mexico had already ratified the agreement. It officially came into force 30 days later on Nov. 5. The action now brings the number of countries that have ratified the agreement to 70, representing 56.68 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.


Proponents hailed the speed with which the nations came together to ratify the agreement.


“Never before has such a major international agreement—with 191 signatories—come into force so rapidly,” said Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, in a statement. “The world’s nations acted with such record speed because they all agree on the urgency of the situation.”


U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has said he would withdraw all funding from the Paris Agreement. However, according to Scientific American magazine, opinions differ on the procedure he would have to follow to do so.