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Paris deal on climate change is sealed as EU ratifies agreement

The agreement will take effect by early November, obliging participants to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to keep global temperatures within 2 degrees Celsius of preindustrial levels.

The landmark climate change agreement aimed at minimizing global warming is on the verge of taking effect following the European Parliament (EP) meeting in Strasbourg, France that approved ratification of the accord.

The Paris Agreement, which was hammered out last December, requires ratification by a minimum of 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The former threshold has already been met and approval by the EU Parliament this afternoon means the agreement can now move forward. The EU ratification is expected to be submitted to the United Nations by week's end, and will enter into force 30 days later.

That means the agreement will take effect before the next round of talks in November, in Morocco, and before the US presidential election in early November. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has threatened to pull the US out of the agreement if elected, though he is currently trailing in the polls.

The Paris Agreement

Last December 195 countries gathered in Paris, and agreed to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for global warming, in order to keep global warming to within two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) of pre-industrial times.

European Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canteen said the milestone marked the beginning of a more difficult phase of turning promises into cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground," he said in a statement.

The EU accounts for about 12 percent of global emissions, making it the third largest polluter behind the United States and China. Both of whom ratified the pact last month.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker applauded the EU parliament, saying, "Today we continued to show leadership and prove that together the European Union can deliver."

bik/kl (dpa, Reuters, EUP)