PANAMA CITY – Panama on Monday joined the more than 20 countries that have officially ratified the Paris Accord against climate change adopted last December by 195 nations during a summit held in the French capital.
“Panama today is transforming itself into country No. 28 to ratify the Paris Accord, joining great powers and small countries who share the objective of protecting our planet,” Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said on Monday.
“Climate change is a threat to the health and wellbeing of society ... Our government has the will to act before it’s too late,” the president said.
The pact, which countries such as the United States, China and Brazil have already sanctioned and which is considered to be the first great worldwide agreement against climate change, is designed to hold average world temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels.
“The accord proved that when the will of heads of state and government exists to arrive at a consensus on such complicated issues as climate change the objective can be attained,” Varela added.
Starting in 2020, the treaty is designed to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997, although for it to enter into force 55 countries totaling at least 55 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions must ratify it.
“Although Panama’s emissions represent just 0.2 percent of the global emissions, this has not been an impediment to taking big steps in the fight against climate change,” Panamanian Environment Minister Mirei Endara said.
Endara noted that Panama promoted the creation of an international center against deforestation and worked to ensure that preservation of tropical forests was included in the summit’s final text, given that such forests “contribute to strengthening carbon reserves on the global level.
“Our country, with the recent expansion of the Panama Canal, undertook important investments to push for international trade with lower emissions, since it cuts the navigation distance of 5 percent of world trade and converts the interoceanic route into a green route,” said the Panamanian leader.