The European Union has ratified a United Nations treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions, meaning the agreement has enough support to go into effect before the end of 2016.
European Parliament approved the so-called Paris accord Tuesday, and EU officials are expected to deposit their ratification with the UN Friday.
EU ratification came just two days after India ratified the Paris accord, though the country made no concrete promises to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Now with Europe and India on board to fight global warming, environmentalists are already claiming a victory in their crusade against global warming.
Today, the EU voted to ratify the #ParisAgreement turning our climate hope into climate action. Now, together, we must get to work!
— Al Gore (@algore) October 4, 2016
The U.S. and China ratified the Paris accord in September. President Barack Obama pledged to cut U.S. emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while China only promised to peak emissions by 2030 and use more green energy.
But Gore’s celebration may be premature. The Paris accord may be going into effect this year, but the winner of November’s U.S. presidential election could unilaterally derail the agreement.
The White House has been careful not to call the Paris accord a treaty, which would need Senate approval to come into force. Instead, the Obama administration has called the accord a political agreement, meaning it’s only binding if the president wishes it so.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged to pull out of the Paris accord if elected this fall. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will keep the U.S. in the accord, and has even promised more regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump said he would “cancel” the Paris accord and stop funding UN global warming programs.
Regardless of what Trump could do, some climate scientists have said the U.S. won’t be able to meet its promised emissions goals anyway.
Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist at the libertarian Cato Institute, said regulators have underestimated methane emissions and the courts could strike down the Obama administration’s key global warming rule.
“All of this —the stayed Clean Power Plan, growing methane emissions, and overly optimistic projections—undermine the viability of Obama’s pledge,” Knappenberger wrote in Newsweek in April.
“Add to the mix energy efficiency measures which don’t work as well as advertised, low gas prices and a growing economy that is still tightly linked to fossil fuels, and you arrive at the unimpeachable conclusion that we are not going to come close to meeting the emissions pledges made by the president,” he wrote.
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