• Kyodo

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The government formally decided Tuesday to sign the Paris Agreement, an international framework negotiated to make curbing greenhouse gas emissions legally binding. Its ratification will require Diet approval.

At least 130 countries, including major emitters such as the United States and China, are expected to sign the agreement at a ceremony Friday at the United Nations. Some 60 world leaders are expected to attend.

The landmark agreement, adopted at a U.N. conference on climate change in December, aims to keep the global average rise in temperature to below 2 degrees C. This rise is seen as the point of no return in the battle to avoid serious complications from climate change, such as drought, floods, melting glaciers and rising seas.

The accord also requires all countries to submit their emissions reduction targets to the United Nations every five years and take domestic measures accordingly.

Signing the agreement means a country basically agrees to its content and aims to formally ratify it in the future.

The Paris Agreement enters into force when at least 55 nations accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it.

“Climate change is a pressing issue that the global community must tackle,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in Tokyo.

He added, “Japan hopes to contribute so that the efforts will progress based on the accord.”

One of the world’s three major global temperature monitoring bodies, the U.K. Met Office, released data in January showing that 2015 smashed all previous annual average temperature records. The data showed that temperatures were 0.75 degrees higher than the long-term average between 1961 and 1990.

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