New International Climate Change Agreement Gains Approval

January 4, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ratify / ˈræt əˌfaɪ / (v.) – to formally approve or give consent to a contract or agreement by signing it
Example: The joint operations between the two forces began after the agreement was ratified.

2. take effect / teɪk ɪˈfɛkt / (idiom) – to become functional
Example: The new law finally took effect after it was signed by the president.

3. curb / kɜrb / (v.) – to limit something
Example: The authorities began curbing the supply of alcoholic drinks after the new law was passed.

4. stave off / steɪv ɔf / (idiom) – to prevent or postpone something unpleasant
Example: The president introduced new policies to help stave off the energy crisis.

5. skeptical / ˈskɛp tɪ kəl / (adj.) – doubtful about something
Example: People were skeptical about the study’s new findings.


Read the text below.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement was finally ratified in November after gathering enough signatures from participating countries.

The Paris Agreement is an international agreement created to battle climate change. It was established in France on December 12, 2015 during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the UN convention dedicated to fighting climate change.

The agreement aims to limit global temperature increase to only 1.5 degrees Celsius by controlling carbon emissions of participating countries. For the agreement to take effect, at least 55 countries responsible for 55% of total global greenhouse emissions must agree and commit to it.

By early October, the Agreement had already gathered 62 signatures from countries that create 52% of carbon emissions globally. Days later, the Paris Agreement finally reached its requirement after the European Parliament ratified it, raising the number to 109 signatures from countries that represent 77% of global emissions.

Under the agreement, all countries that agreed to it are obliged to combat climate change by curbing carbon emissions. However, critics from the scientific community think that the agreement is not enough to stave off the effects of climate change.

In addition, some experts are skeptical about the effectivity of the Agreement’s implementation. According to a professor at Aarhus /ˈɔrˌhus/ University in Denmark, the ratification of the agreement shows world unity against climate change, but actually implementing its conditions may be difficult. He said that the objectives of the Agreement may only be achieved if countries can quickly adapt new technologies and phase out sources of pollution without any problems with resources and political considerations.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that countries should be penalized if they violate the agreement? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, what penalties should be given to countries that violate the agreement?

Discussion B

·         Why is there a need for countries to participate in international projects? Discuss.
·         What should a country or government consider before entering an international agreement?

January 4, 2017