French President Francois Hollande has officially ratified the United Nations (UN) climate change agreement, which was designed to reduce carbon emissions around the world in order to curb the continued warming of the planet.
With its ratification of the Paris accord on Wednesday, France becomes the second European country to formally adopt the environmental plan, following Hungary, and the first nation among the seven leading economies of the world. The French parliament officially authorized the approval of the deal this week.
According to the principles of the climate change agreement, nations are required to significantly reduce their carbon emissions to help keep global temperature well below the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) mark.
The deal was signed by 195 countries at the climate change summit in the French capital last year, but it will only take effect after 55 of the signatory nations, or at least 55 percent of total global carbon emissions, have ratified the agreement.
"Signing is good, ratifying is better," Hollande said during the ratification ceremony at the élysée Palace. He was joined by French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, environment minister Ségolène Royal and other leading government officials.
Before France's approval of the deal this week, 17 smaller countries, which represents less than 1 percent of global emissions, have already ratified the deal. This group is mostly comprised of small islands and low-lying coastal nations that are believed to be the most at risk of massive flooding if the effects of global warming continues.
Other larger countries, such as the United States, China and India, are yet to officially adopt the climate change agreement.
U.S. government officials said they are working toward having the deal ratified by the end of 2016 before President Barack Obama leaves office in January.
China, on the other hand, announced that it intends to have the deal ratified before the start of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China in September. China and the United States are considered to be the top two carbon emitters in the world.
Based on the climate change agreement, the United States pledged to reduce its carbon emission by as much as 26 to 28 percent, from levels in 2005, by 2025.
Members of the European Union (EU), including France, vowed that they will work to have their greenhouse gas emissions cut by as much as 40 percent, from levels in 1990, by 2030.
Hollande urged other European nations to follow France's lead and have the climate change agreement ratified by the end of the year.