Colombian Congress passes bill ratifying Paris Agreement
This vital step guarantees that Colombia is committed to the targets it agreed to when President Juan Manuel Santos signed the Agreement in April 2016. The National Government has been engaged since that date in the task of ratifying the Agreement, and the step taken this week by the House of Representatives is a sign of the significant progress that has been made toward this end.
“It is a clear demonstration of the political will to progress toward the resilient, low-carbon growth targets”, said WWF-Colombia Climate Change Specialist Óscar Guevara.
The legislative act comes shortly after the launch of the National Climate Change Policy which, to quote WWF Climate and Energy global leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, “demonstrates conclusive backing for the Paris Agreement.”
“In the current environment”, Pulgar-Vidal added, “actions like this vote by Colombia’s Congress are very important, they are signs of leadership and a commitment to implement, immediately and in a decisive manner, the transition towards a proactive mitigation and adaptation agenda.”
We should remember that signatories to the Paris Agreement agree to take whatever actions might be necessary to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by an average of more than 2°C in the coming decades. To achieve this, countries established various specific objectives, and Colombia, in particular, undertook to cut its emissions by 20%, compared to the projected figure for 2030.
What remains to be done before the ratification comes into effect?
Essentially, three steps need to be taken. First, the Constitutional Court must carry out a detailed review and grant its approval. Second, the President of the Republic signs the ratification. Finally, the Chanceller notifies the United Nations that the process is complete.
This news is particularly relevant at a time when numerous authorities, leading figures and companies all over the world have reconfirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement in the light of the recent announcement by President Donald Trump that he is withdrawing the United States from the Agreement. A similar response has come from within the United States itself, one example being the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition (www.WeAreStillIn.com). The United States is the second biggest producer of greenhouse gases, after China, and is also a nation that can potentially have a huge, positive impact in the fight against climate change.
This explains why, by ratifying the Paris Agreement, Colombia will join the long list of countries that are giving priority to taking action aimed at adapting to and mitigating the effects of this phenomenon that poses a serious threat to natural ecosystems, the economy, and the well-being of entire communities.