Countries line up in record numbers to sign agreement on climate change

A record number of countries will endorse an international deal to tackle climate change on Friday. The 165 signatories to the UN agreement in Paris is the most to put their names to an accord of this kind in a single day. French president Francois Hollande and Canada’s Justin Trudeau will join US Secretary of State John Kerry for the ceremony. Oscar winner and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio will be on hand to praise leaders for signing, urge others to do the same and appeal to all to turn their commitments into action.

The magnitude of the changes has been a surprise even for veteran climate scientists

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation, warns over climate change

Held on Earth Day, the ceremony comes four months after the hard-won deal was clinched in Paris and marks the first step toward binding countries to the promises they made to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The United Nations expects some 60 heads of state and government at the signing ceremony. Most of Friday’s signatories will need approval from their parliaments for ratification of the treaty. The agreement will come into force as soon as 55 countries responsible for 55% of the world’s greenhouse gases have done so.

It’s happening much faster than anyone anticipated or expected. Independent analysis suggests that at least one of the top four emitters must ratify the agreement

UN official Selwin Hart