French president François Hollande formally ratified the Paris climate accord yesterday, making the country the first major nation to do so.
The climate deal had been signed by over 170 countries, under which, they would be required to set individual greenhouse gas reduction goals as part of a strategy to combat climate change. However, the deal would not formally take effect until 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of the world's emissions formally ratified the deal.
Before France, 17 small countries representing less than 1 per cent of global emissions had ratified the agreement, according to the World Resources Institute.
"Signing is good, ratifying is better," Hollande said at a ratification ceremony in Paris, AFP reported.
Major emitting countries like the US had to yet ratify the deal, though Obama administration officials had said they were working toward doing so by the end of the year.
The US, China and India, three of the world's four biggest emitters, had all agreed to ratify the deal this year, a step that would go a long way toward ensuring the deal kicked in before president Obama left office in January.
" The challenge now is that 55 states representing 55 per cent greenhouse gas emissions in turn ratify the treaty," Xinhua news agency quoted Hollande as saying.
Hollande also called on European partners to ratify the agreement by the end of the year and last week, the French parliament gave the green light to government to ratify the accord.
During a summit in May, the heads of state and government of the G7 (the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada) pledged to intensify efforts towards ensuring that the agreement entered into force before the end of 2016.
On 12 December, 2015 climate negotiators of 196 parties adopted the accord at climate change talks which aimed at limiting global warming by two degrees Celsius.