The U.N.-sponsored climate pact to limit greenhouse gases crossed a critical threshold far ahead of schedule Tuesday with the approval of the European Union, as world leaders raced to cement the deal amid fears that Donald Trump would make good on his vow to end U.S. participation if elected president.
With the addition of the 28 European Union nations, the agreement cleared the hurdle of 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions required for the accord to enter into effect — less than a year after being negotiated by the Obama administration and more than 190 countries in December.
With the approval by the EU parliament needing a month to officially take effect, the accord could start to come into force on Nov. 7 — one day before the presidential election in the U.S.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest praised the speed at which the deal was ratified even as critics attributed the flurry of approvals to the possibility of a November victory by Mr. Trump, who vowed in May to “cancel” the accord.
Mr. Earnest said that multilateral, U.N.-backed agreements “typically take multiple years, if not decades, to enter into force.”
“And the fact that this agreement will take effect in less than a year is not just a historic accomplishment, it’s a historic commitment to fulfilling the terms of the deal in a way that will have enormous positive benefits for the planet,” he said.
“The Paris agreement is a grand theater designed to convince Western taxpayers to cough up more money,” said Australian climate skeptic Joanne Nova. “China and India are part of the show, putting on their best environmental faces while they do nothing green — or even less.”