STOCKHOLM, Sep 21 (AP): Thirty more countries are expected to formally join the Paris Agreement on climate change this week, greatly improving the pact's chances of coming into force just a year after it was negotiated in the French capital, the United Nations said Tuesday.
More than 170 world leaders have signed the deal, but it won't take effect until 55 countries accounting for at least 55 per cent of global emissions have ratified or accepted it through their domestic procedures.
That was initially expected to take several years, but 28 countries accounting for 39 per cent of emissions including the world's two biggest emitters, the United States and China, have already ratified the deal.
The 30 ratifications expected to be handed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a special event at UN headquarters in New York would bring the total to 58 countries - but many are small and their total emissions likely won't reach the required 55 per cent.
Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are the largest emitters on the list announced late Tuesday by the United Nations. But the 30 countries will only bring the emissions total to 47 per cent.
At least half a dozen small island nations including Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Kiribati are expected to ratify along with several countries from Central America, Africa, Asia and one from the Mideast the United Arab Emirates.
"We are ready. We will announce it in New York," Moroccan Environment Minister Hakima el-Haite told The Associated Press.
In the world of international diplomacy, this is considered a blistering pace, reflecting a sense of urgency in the fight against global warming and a desire to seal the deal before Ban and US President Barack Obama leave office.
After years of negotiations, governments agreed in Paris last December to curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet.
Ban, who has made climate change a top priority since he became secretary-general nearly 10 years ago, urged world leaders in his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to bring the Paris Agreement into force by the end of the year.