This Friday, April 22, in celebration of Earth Day, leaders from around the world will gather in New York at the United Nations to sign the Paris Agreement.

The signing ceremony takes place on the first day that the Agreement will be open for signatures and marks the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force.  All events will be streamed live on the United Nations Web TV.

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015.

At COP 21 in Paris, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

The Paris Agreement builds upon the UNFCCC and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake take ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives.

For additional information about the Agreement, see Paris Agreement FAQs.  For a summary of what happens after the signing, see William Yardley’s article in the Los Angeles Times, “The Paris Climate Agreement Is About to Be Signed:  What Happens Next” (April 22, 2016).  For research assistance in environmental law, see the Law Library’s guide: International Environmental Law Research.