The Abe administration should not waste more time in seeking ratification of the Paris Agreement for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. It has now become certain that the international climate accord will enter into force early next month with ratification by more than 60 countries that account for over 55 percent of global emissions. If Japan fails to ratify the pact before it takes effect, the nation will not be able to take part in the initial rounds of making the rules for its implementation. Slow action on the accord by Japan, the world’s fifth-largest emitter, is all the more regrettable since the agreement requires participating countries to do more than what they already committed to when signing the deal.

The landmark deal adopted at the climate change conference in Paris last December sets a target of keeping the rise in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels within 2 degrees Celsius — and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees — and of cutting the man-made emissions of global-warming gases effectively to zero in the latter half of this century. Unlike the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which imposed emissions reduction targets solely on advanced economies, all participants in the Paris accord — both developed and developing nations — will set voluntary goals to cut their emissions. The problem is, the voluntary plans submitted by countries ahead of the accord are deemed insufficient to achieve the goals.

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