Climate Buzz

As it Happened on Twitter: EU Parliament Backs Paris Climate Accord

A glowing Martin Schulz, speaker of the EU parliament, escorts UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon into the building. Photo: EP
A glowing Martin Schulz, speaker of the EU parliament, escorts UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon into the building. Photo: EP

A host of dignitaries were present at the EU parliament to witness an overwhelming majority of members vote in favour of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Following the vote in the European Parliament yesterday (3 October) – much sooner than expected due to a fast-tracked ratification process – the EU is now set to officially ratify the greenhouse gas-busting agreement by handing in the official paperwork at the UN’s New York headquarters on Friday.

As a result, the agreement may come into force on 7 November, less than one year since the global climate deal was adopted at the COP21 summit in Paris. Here are a few tweets to give you an impression of what the historic vote by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) looked like on social media.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon addressed parliament ahead of the vote. Deputy speaker Kathleen Van Brempt tweeted this photo.

EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete was also in attendance and tweeted a view of the European Parliament’s debating chamber.

Ban  Ki-moon told MEPs that they had an “opportunity to demonstrate global climate leadership,” the EU parliament’s Twitter account shared this video clip.

Following the vote, the European Parliament’s press service shared an image of the vote distribution: 610 MEPs voted in favour of the Paris Agreement and only 38 against.

Speaker Martin Schulz signed the paperwork on behalf of all MEPs. Giovanni La Via, chair of the Environment Committee, tweeted these photos and called it “History in the house of European citizens!”

Schulz himself tweeted that the EU “remains at the forefront of the fight against climate change.”

The UN highlighted that the agreement was passed with a “huge majority.”

Oxfam’s Stefan Verwer called the vote a “major breakthrough,” and was one of many Twitter users to urge that the EU now acts “accordingly.”

“Ratified! Yay! :)” is how MEP Ska Keller, a German green party member, put it.

“The EU voted to ratify the Paris Agreement,” announced environmental campaigner Al Gore in a tweet, while urging that now “together, we must get to work!”

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, retweeted this post by her campaign chairman John Podesta. “Good news out of Brussels,” he tweeted.

French environment minister Ségolène Royal was in parliament for the signing ceremony, and called it a “big day for the planet and Europe.”

“A record!” she tweeted, referring to the breakneck speed at which the agreement has sailed through the EU’s council of ministers and the European Parliament.

Maroš Šefčovič, the EU commission vice-president in charge of Europe’s energy transition, tweeted a jubilant gif of his handshake with Ban Ki-moon and the words “PARIS AGREEMENT RATIFIED!” in bold, along with a quote from the secretary general.

“When Europe works together,” it can lead the world, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberals and democrats (ALDE) group in the EU parliament, tweeted.

Speaker Schulz promptly sent the ratification proposal back to the EU’s 28 environment ministers, who will now wrap up the paperwork.

Slovakia currently chairs the council of ministers and tweeted a photo of Schulz’s letter.

The French government was quick to confirm that the vote in the EU parliament means the agreement could enter into force “within a few days!”

The ratification means the accord will come into force in the first week of November, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres tweeted.

The agreement specifies that it will take effect 30 days from when enough countries have ratified it, which could be achieved if the European Union ratifies on Friday.

With another tweet, Slovakia confirmed that the EU’s member states will officially ratify the Paris Agreement on Friday (7 October) in New York.

From Ratification to Implementation

With the climate accord almost ratified, the world’s attention is now rapidly shifting towards swift implementation in an effort to limit global warming before it reaches catastrophic levels. In a little over a month, likely just one day after the Paris Agreement takes effect, the COP22 climate summit in Marrakesh will see officials and diplomats discuss the practical details of how to properly implement the historic agreement.

Simultaneously, Climate-KIC – the EU’s climate innovation partnership – is set to host the Climate Innovation Summit 2016 on 8 November in Frankfurt, focusing on the solutions that are needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement.

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