UN chief hails entry into force of Paris climate agreement as ‘historic’

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UN General Assembly pays tribute to Ban's "never-tiring service to humanity"

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 5 (APP): “Today we make history,” UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday, marking entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change at a meeting with representatives of civil society working to combat rising global temperatures.
The landmark pact, which was agreed to by the world’s nations in the
French capital on 15th December 2015, already has been ratified by nearly half of them, 96 as of Thursday, according to a UN spokesman.
“Today we make history in humankind’s efforts to combat climate change,”
Ban told the gathering here in a UN Headquarters conference room, noting it entered into force “in record time.”
A previous major climate agreement, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, took
8-years to enter into force.
“This is a momentous day for all of us,” said Ban, a prime mover behind
the Paris Agreement.
“I chose to mark it by meeting with representatives of civil society. I
invited them here to thank them for their outstanding contributions and to ask how they are putting the Paris Agreement into action.”
He listened as the representatives listed their major concerns in
meeting the primary objective of the voluntary accord, to keep the world’s temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era levels.
One of the more common problems voiced was the perennial challenge of financing the phase-out of fossil fuels.
“You showed the climate challenge stakes and the solutions,” the UN
chief said. You mobilized hundreds of millions of people for the cause.”
“We are still in a race against time,” he said.
“We need to transition to a low-emissions and climate-resilient
future.I ask each and every one of you to keep up the fight,” Ban said.
“Hold governments accountable and press for action.”
UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson also called it a “historic
day.”
“Climate change undermines the ability of countries to achieve and
maintain sustainable development,” he said in a statement.
“It represents an existential threat to large swathes of humanity. The
implementation of the Paris Agreement is therefore critical if we are to overcome this extraordinary challenge and provide sustainable opportunity to present and future generations.”
“As a Fijian, I am honoured that my country was the first to ratify the
Paris Agreement,” he said.
“I am pleased that other Member States have done the same at an urgent pace. But more than this, as a father and grandfather, I am overjoyed that the international community has recognized the severity of the situation and agreed to a common strategy that makes possible a sustainable way of life on this planet by addressing the fundamental challenge of climate change.”