Four months after the COP21 in Paris, there’s a grand ceremony today at the United Nations to formalize the commitments of 146 countries to cope with global warming. The number of countries gathered sets a new historical record — 119 countries were present for the Montego Bay Convention for the signing of the law of the sea. Fifty-five heads of state have announced their attendance.
But despite the cheer, scientists and the IPCC continue to sound the alarm on global warming and its consequences: There are already 20 million climate refugees around the world, and yet today will just be another stage of dialogue, not action. We still have to wait for 55 countries — accounting for 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — to ratify the COP21 agreement before it comes into force.
We’re still far from that point. Even though 162 countries committed to to the terms, out of 195 present in Paris in December, a dozen — among them the largest: the U.S., China, Canada — have promised to ratify within a year. For the moment, only three countries have done so, anticipating the U.N. ceremony: Switzerland, the Marshall Islands and Palau.