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UN says more than 130 countries will sign climate agreement April 22

World leaders celebrating after reaching a climate agreement on December 12, 2015, in Paris. STRNEWZ

A record number of more than 130 countries will sign the landmark agreement to tackle climate change at a ceremony at U.N. headquarters on April 22, the United Nations said Thursday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting the signing ceremony on the first day that the agreement reached in Paris in December opens for signature.

The U.N. chief, French President Francois Hollande and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who is in charge of global climate negotiations, have invited leaders from all 193 U.N. member states to the event.

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The U.N. said signatures from over 130 countries, including more than 60 heads of state and government, would surpass the previous record of 119 signatures on the opening day for signing an international agreement. That record is held by the opening day signing of the Law of the Sea treaty in 1994.

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The U.N. stressed that the signing ceremony is the first step in ensuring that the agreement enters into force as soon as possible. It will take effect 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the secretary-general.

A number of countries have indicated that they will deposit their instruments of ratification immediately after signing the agreement, the U.N. said.

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“Paris was historic,” Ban said in a statement. “But it’s only the beginning. We must urgently accelerate our efforts to tackle climate change.”

The agreement sets a collective goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It requires all countries to submit plans for climate action and to update them every five years, though such plans are not legally binding.

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